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The Duke's restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand

As John Wayne could have said: "Well pilgrim, thar's a new grill in town, and all you bad cooks better clear out before sunset."

Actually, with great food and great prices, The Duke's will defeat most competition without any histrionics or B-movie analogies. Isn't that what a restaurant is all about?

I've eaten at The Duke's many times, and every time the food has been very good, even excellent, and very affordable. In these visits, I've seen many local farang families enjoying a night without rice and without breaking the bank. Best of all, everyone seems to find just what they've been missing on The Duke's thorough menu.

The sign says "Steaks, Ribs, Seafood, and Pizza" and it is all here. Throw in some good burgers and sandwiches, a selection of salads (included on many entres), some vegetables, and home-made bread and desserts, and The Duke might as well rename itself as "Farang Heaven in Chiang Mai".

So Much Food, So Little Time

When I started to explore the menu,, I started with the ribs. The Duke's has a wood-fired oven out back, and they use this oven to prepare many dishes, pizza and ribs among them. The ribs were meaty, tender, slightly crispy from the baking, and served with a home-made sauce. Needless to say, it wasn't long before a paleontologist could not have deciphered what was left of a great rack of ribs.

The hamburger was delicious and the french fries even better. It is a pleasure to enjoy a good hamburger when it is well done (in both senses of the word - what can I say, I like them that way).

And the pizza! The medium pizza is almost as wide as the table. I'm afraid to order a large pizza without a team of hungry associates to help me. There is a good assortment of available toppings, and you pick what goes on the pizza. That option extends to the calzone: many restaurants offer this folded pizza, but no others (to my knowledge) let you select what goes inside. Now, it seems an obvious thing to do, but The Duke's was there first. A great lunch order, you say? Yes!

Did I say The Duke's emphasizes home-cooking? Yes? Well let me say it again, but in a different way: home made pizza, fresh from the wood-fired oven. Fresh foccacio bread and sandwich rolls. Home made sauces. And the desserts! Lordy, tie me down or hold me back: home made cheesecake, apple pie, chocolate cake, carrot cake, and ICE CREAM. Frankly, I am astonished that one place can make so many things themselves. In truth, I've only touched on all the delights that await.

The Secret of Their Success

The "secret" is out: locate good suppliers, make almost everything yourself to your own great recipes, and then offer excellent food at reasonable prices. The Duke's has found a winning formula in my book. See you there!

PS: they have a full bar, a good assortment of local and imported beer, and the supporting cast of regular drinks. The Duke prides himself on his careful selection of coffee beans.

PPS: that's the end of the review. After writing and checking this article, I've decided to go to Duke's for a brief but anticipated repast ..... Mike Mc Cune

How to Get There

The Duke's is located on the east bank of the Ping River, between the Nawarat Bridge and the Iron Bridge. It is well lit and has two signs.

The Duke's,49/4-5 Chiangmai-Lamphun Road, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Tel.: 053 - 249231.

Open daily from 11 AM to approximately 10 PM or later. Reservations not accepted, first come - first served.

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