Thai Pavilion closed in Rockville Town Square at the end of May due to financial challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, its owner says. Credit: Screen capture from Google Maps

Thai Pavilion in Rockville Town Square has closed, its owner told Bethesda Beat on Friday.

Owner Thomas Ukrit wrote in a text message that the restaurant closed on May 31 due to financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants across Maryland were ordered to close on March 16 except for takeout and delivery. In June, Montgomery County began allowing sit-down service to resume at a limited capacity.

Ukrit wrote that the Rockville restaurant had been losing revenue since the beginning of the health crisis. He was forced to lay off his 10 employees before he received a federal loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Ukrit wrote that when he tried to hire back his employees, many didn’t want to come back to work because they feared catching the virus.

In a phone interview, Ukrit said his chef was among the employees who did not come back to work.

“The chef is not coming back, and I’m not cooking myself,” he said.

Ukrit said he was forced to close the restaurant at the end of May with more than $300,000 in debt. He relinquished his lease to the property’s landlord, Federal Realty Investment Trust, he said.

Ukrit said he has owned Thai Pavilion in Rockville for 13 years. His other Thai Pavilion, in National Harbor, Md., remains open. But he said he is not sure about the future of that location due to the economic uncertainty during the pandemic.

Thai Pavilion’s closing in Rockville Town Square is one of several restaurant closings in the city’s downtown area over the past seven months. Other restaurants to close include Bar Louie, Gordon Biersch, La Tasca and Gumbo Ya Ya.

Federal Realty did not respond to a message on Friday afternoon, but has told Bethesda Beat that it does not comment on closings at its properties.

Dan Schere can be reached at