Major Drama at Circles Bala Cynwyd… Is it Closed? Is it Open?

My previously Thai-deprived, bougie Main Line friends have been raving about the Bala Cynwyd outpost of Circles since it opened in early December. But now, just two months after the first dinner service, Circles Bala Cynwyd has closed.

Circles chef/owner Alex Boonphaya gave me the bad news this afternoon. “Problems with the co-owner,” was all he would say about it, declining to get into the details behind the closure. Boonphaya says that he’ll entertain the idea of reopening in the area, but not for “a few months… at least.”

Meanwhile, the fledgling restaurant enterprise, which includes a 54-seat Northern Liberties location as well as the Best of Philly-winning (twice) Point Breeze Newbold flagship, was recently hit with an $18,000 lien for unpaid state taxes. With the closing of Circles Bala Cynwyd and the tax problem, could there be serious trouble for Boonphaya during the “Darkest Days for Restaurateurs“?

No, he says, explaining that he’s working to clear up the tax matter. “We’re still going to be here,” he insists.

Update 5:15 p.m. 2/12/2013: This afternoon,’s Michael Klein sent an email to Foobooz stating, “You might want to double-check your Circles info. Though Alex may be out, that restaurant is very much open.” I called Circles PR rep Peter Breslow to find out what’s up. “This is a real food fight”, says Breslow. “The Circles Bala Cynwyd saga is spinning. We just got word that the restaurant opened for business tonight, but the proprietor Alex is on his way to the restaurant to… handle the matter. I do not expect it to be open tomorrow.”

Ah, Philly. We can’t even have a tiny BYO Thai place in the suburbs without having a little drama along with it.

Update 9:00 a.m. 2/13/2013: Word is that there will still be a Thai restaurant at this location but not under the name Circles. According to Breslow, Boonphaya “took all the menus” last night and made it clear that any attempt to operate under the name Circles would result in court action.