Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on March 27, 2024
Takeout-Only Chinese Restaurant Joyful Garden Now Open in Former Thailand Restaurant Space in the CastroPhoto: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

The Castro's newest Chinese restaurant Joyful Garden is now open at 438A Castro Street, formerly Thailand Restaurant.

Joyful Garden quietly opened earlier this month in the second-floor restaurant space above Castro bar 440. The former Thailand Restaurant, as you may recall, closed in 2022 after 30 years in the Castro and the space has remained vacant since then.

Joyful Garden is only accepting takeout and delivery orders at this time. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline


Joyful Garden manager Gigi Zheng tells Hoodline that the restaurant is open for takeout and delivery only, with orders being accepted at a kiosk outside the front door. Zheng said that the city currently will not allow Joyful Garden to use its dining room due to Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility issues caused by the staircase leading up to the second-floor restaurant.

Zheng is hopeful that they will be able to find a solution with the city in the coming months. Zheng says they might be able to get an exemption for improvements that are not "readily achievable."

Joyful Garden's menu includes various traditional Cantonese-style Chinese food options, dim sum, ramen, dumplings, fried rice, noodles rolls, and congee. Drink options include soda and teas.

Joyful Garden currently does not have a liquor license. Public records indicate that a beer and wine license held by Thailand Restaurant was not transferred to Joyful Garden.

View of the Castro Theatre from the second-floor window of Thailand Restaurant (2013). | Photo: Amanda P./Yelp


Zheng says that after looking at several locations they were attracted to the space by its proximity to transit, the foot traffic, and the restaurant view overlooking the Castro Theatre.

With only one chef and limited staffing, Zheng says it has been difficult to keep up with orders when the restaurant gets busy. However, Zheng is hopeful to bring on more staff as the restaurant gets up and running.

Joyful Garden plans to take advantage of the Castro late-night crowd. The restaurant will be open Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

Joyful Garden's opening comes at a time when a handful of Castro storefront vacancies have been filled, and popular East Bay taqueria Tacos El Tucán is taking over the recently vacated Bonita Taqueria space.