A love letter to Elephant #8

Published by Annabelle Chipps and Kaitlyn Shope, Date: December 11, 2023

The door opens. You walk in and are greeted by the sizzle of the wok, the savory aroma of chicken pad thai, you are referred to as honey in every blissful interaction – no, this is not heaven. It’s Elephant #8 on Main St. 

You saunter past bright orange walls and eye-catching decorations before being directed to your seat. You flip through the pages of the menu and are shocked by the choices. Whether you are gluten free, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, etc., there are options for you. 

As a vegetarian myself (Annabelle), my go-to order is pad see ew with tofu. This meal with never fail me. I have been to many Thai restaurants in my 21 years and can confidently say this is my favorite iteration of the dish. It is sweet but not teeth-rotting, savory but not overwhelming. The tofu is chewy without being soggy. Everything about it is perfect. 

Still, Elephant #8 is so good that I can’t stick with just one dish. Luckily for me, it is easy to modify most, if not all, dishes to fit my dietary needs. Even the appetizers are filled with meatless options. Personally, I recommend the veggie spring rolls. 

I know my peers have expressed feeling like Slippery Rock is devoid of good food, both on and off campus. And I concur. But what’s even more difficult to find around here is plant-based food that is actually healthy. This is where Elephant #8 steps in. My colleague Katie Shope referred to it as, “actual good food in Slip.”

I (Katie) study the menu and consider trying something new, but I know what my heart is set on. I order pad woon sen with chicken at a level zero spice because I am weak. The glass noodles and carrots shaped like crinkle cut fries get me every time. If I am feeling crazy, I order a thai iced tea and even crab rangoons on special occasions. 

While, yes, it is a restaurant and they sell food, Elephant #8 is more than that. Other places may try and switch up their spices, but you can’t change the recipe for atmosphere. After all, there is only one Nina. 

Nina (the owner)  is a princess that gives you princess treatment. If you have never had Thai food before, do not fear, she is more than happy to help. She takes time to step away from her bustling restaurant and guide newcomers through the menu. She will guarantee you are satisfied with your selection. 

She is always there with a genuine smile and a helping hand. In darker days of the pandemic, she was sometimes the only one on the floor while handling the register and running back and forth to the kitchen. 

Nina, if you’re reading, we want to thank you. Thank you for your delicious food. Thank you for your beautiful restaurant with its barrage of delightful sensory experience. And most of all, thank you for your kindness and hospitality. Slippery Rock wouldn’t be the same without you.


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