Retail Tipsheet: Restauranteur enjoys bringing traditional Thai dishes to Bellingham

Watching how things are made has served Usanee Klimo well when it comes to creating food dishes.

Klimo recently opened Maikham at 1311 N. State St., near Saturna Capital. She serves a variety of Thai cuisine, particularly curry items, from her native Issarn region.

Her training began as a child in Thailand. Her dad was in the military, so the family moved around frequently. Klimo spent a lot of time with her mother, observing how she did things in the kitchen. She also watched others who would sometimes do the cooking, which gave Klimo contrasting Thai cooking styles. While some stuck with the traditional methods, strictly following directions on making a meal, her mother went by instinct.

“We would go to open markets or restaurants and take home a certain meal and spend time trying to replicate it,” Klimo said, adding that experimenting with ingredients added to the fun.

She continued to learn about cooking through observation even when she went to college, hanging out in the kitchen with the moms of friends she would visit.

After college, she became an interpreter for the U.S. Embassy, traveling along the northern Thailand border. Not many restaurants were in the area, but she continued to observe other people cooking and picked up more tips on the way.

After getting married and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994, Klimo wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Neighbors and friends starting asking for tips, particularly her curry dishes, so she decided to get into catering. Her husband eventually took a position at Saturna Capital, and she was pleasantly surprised to find a restaurant space across the street from the financial firm.

The first month of business has started off well but has had challenges, she said. She’s been working on ways to make meals more quickly, particularly during the lunch hour, while working in a tiny space in a large, shared commercial kitchen. This includes hiring more staff to speed up the process.

Klimo is happy with the meals she’s been preparing. She’s been focusing on simple ingredients, using local, organic products when she can. One of her favorite parts of the business is having a long center community table, where strangers congregate and end up having conversations.

For details about the restaurant, visit or call 360-366-8193.


Dakota Creek Winery recently signed an agreement with Walton Beverage for the distribution of its wines to restaurants and retailers in five Washington counties.

“We are excited as this new partnership will expand the availability of our wines to our customer base in Washington,” said Ken Peck, owner of the winery, in a news release. “With Walton Beverage, Dakota Creek will expand its distribution along the I-5 corridor north of Seattle.”

The wines will continue to be available at the winery, which is at 3575 Haynie Road in Blaine.


The Bellingham microbrewery Kombucha Town recently launched four new flavors of its brewed tea.

The new flavors are called Gold Light, Green Jasmine, Loco and Blueberry White. All four new flavors are being sold as non-alcoholic beverages in 16-ounce cans, according to a company press release. The flavors are available at a variety of local stores , including Terra, Haggen and the Community Food Co-op.

The company also has two original blends, called Signature and Gold. Customers need to be at least 21 to purchase those products.

For details on the products, visit


Polished Petite Spa in Bellingham ceased operations on Monday, Nov. 10.

The spa opened at 2336 James St. in May 2013, but owner Sage Bishop said she has struggled to find enough qualified nail technicians since then.

“No business owner makes this decision lightly as there is an enormous financial and emotional investment that is lost forever,” Bishop said in a news release. “We have tried to find nail techs since we opened. We often could not fill appointments customers wanted during the past few months because we did not have the staff.”

Bishop said the adjacent Labels Women’s Consignment Store at 2332 James St. and the Labels store at 3927 Northwest Ave. that she owns are doing well and remain open.


A beer/wine state liquor license was submitted for Nok’s Thai Cuisine at 1213 Dupont St., near the Bellingham Public Schools District office. The applicant is Suporn Intaniwade. ... Construction continues at the Oxford Suites hotel at 4051 Meridian St., near Bellis Fair. The company recently submitted building permits for its swimming pool and spa. ... The Shakedown submitted a building permit application to expand its nightclub at 1220 N. State St. On its Facebook page, The Shakedown announced it would be a bar and pinball lounge.