Saturday May 18th, 2024 1:24PM

4 Elephants restaurant brings authentic Laotian cuisine to downtown Flowery Branch

By Austin Eller News Director

4 Elephants restaurant in downtown Flowery Branch will offer authentic Laotian cuisine when it opens its doors to the public for the first time Thursday in a move that has been years in the making.

The restaurant is co-owned by sisters Jannette and Janny Xayavongsa, along with their mom. The sisters grew up in Flowery Branch.

"My mom makes all the food," Jannette told AccessWDUN Wednesday. "She goes and hand picks the chicken, pork, steak - we cut it, we slice it, she marinates it. Everything is homemade."

4 Elephants initially operated as a catering business beginning in 2021 and opened a physical restaurant just outside Helen later that year. The restaurant operations eventually shifted to a food truck as they anticipated the move to their new location in downtown Flowery Branch, which they said took longer than initially anticipated.

"It's been a long time coming, and everyone has been waiting," Jannette said. "We're all happy it's finally here."

4 Elephants is located at 5521 Main Street in Flowery Branch, just across from Caroline's and Whole Being Cafe.

The new spot will offer what the sisters described as Laotian "comfort food."

"The menu that we came up with - these are all the things that we ate when we were going to the temples and different festivals when my parents used to take us when we were little," Janny said. "All of it is relatable to everyone, like fried chicken, ribs, sausage ... but in our culture."

The menu will feature a variety of authentic dishes, which have been slightly tweaked from its food truck operations. Additionally, the restaurant can customize its dishes for each individual customer, as long as the staff receives a heads-up.

4 Elephants will hold a grand opening event, called the Taste of Laos, from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Customers can pay $25 during those three days for an all-you-can-eat buffet of everything on their menu, including drinks.

"You get a chance to taste literally everything," Janny said. "You'll get to pick and choose what you like, what you don't like, ahead of our regular store hours."

Items can still be ordered to go or a la carte during the event for those not looking to participate.

Once the Taste of Laos event wraps up, the restaurant will be closed this Sunday. 4 Elephants will then begin normal operations on Monday, when customers will be able to order off their menu. From that point on, the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

The name of the restaurant comes from a sister tattoo, representing the four sisters in the Xayavongsa family. 

"We all came up with it, me, my twin sister and my two little sisters," Janny said. "And Laos is known as the land of the million elephants."

Find out more about 4 Elephants on their Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as their website.

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