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Circles Thai — A Case Study

Circles Contemporary Thai Cuisine — Philadelphia magazine’s Best of Philly 2011 and 2012 — wanted to plan a blowout for the Thai New Year. This is celebrated in mid-April and they asked Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations to get the word out!

Executive Chef/ Owner Alex Boonphaya explained that every year in his homeland locals flood the streets to celebrate the New Year’s festival (called Songkran) by splashing water on each other.

This tradition began as a way of showing respect for one another, by sprinkling one another with water that had been blessed, but over time, this religious gesture turned into just plain fun!

Now Chef Boonphaya wanted to bring some of this fun to Philadelphia. Maybe the water-throwing idea wouldn’t work, but there had to be some other tactics that would be newsworthy.

Here’s what happened: Chef Boonphaya’s original idea was a block party – he hoped to close 2nd Street in Northern Liberties and create a street fair in collaboration with other local Thai restaurants from Philadelphia. But, unsure of the restrictions and obstacles of closing 2nd Street, ace publicist Peter Breslow suggested creating a monthlong Thai New Year Celebration highlighting Chef Boonphaya’s heritage, which included collaborating with rising star chefs from the Philadelphia area!

With this spark Chef Boonphaya and Peter Breslow planned four collaborative dinners featuring a different chef every Thursday! The dinners were orchestrated and served at Circles Thai in Northern Liberties (but not at their South Philly location). Each chef would provide his or her own twist on traditional Thai cuisine, and prepare a multi-course meal with Chef Boonphaya and his kitchen staff. Then, after all the collaborative dinners, Chef Boonphaya would compile his favorite dishes from each chef, and pair his personal favorites to create an 8-course menu to celebrate Thai New Year!

This plan offered Circles’ customers an amazing feast every Thursday for four weeks in a row, and it kept Circles Contemporary Thai Cuisine in the news week after week!

So Chef Boonphaya began contacting other notable chefs throughout the Philadelphia area to create their tentative menus! He partnered with gifted chefs Jeffrey Power of Dettera, George Sabatino from Stateside, John Taus of The Corner, Jenn Choplin of SoWe and Time’s Sean Magee. They created four unbelievable menus focused on Thai ingredients infused with Philly charm!

Then, before the Thai New Year Collaboration Series began, Circles Thai blitzed the media to build interest. As the collaborative dinners took off, the press noticed! Circles’ New Year Collaborative Dinner Series was noted in, UWishUNu, Foobooz, Foodistfiles and Philadelphia’s City Paper!

By the end of the series, Circles Thai had accomplished what Peter Breslow had promised: they had gained recognition in the media for six weeks straight. What a press whirlwind!

To read more about Circles Thai’s press, click here:

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