By: Jason Bove
This month, I proudly introduce…Suleka Sun-Lindley. You may have seen her upside-down in a yoga class, climbing, cooking, painting, designing, smiling, or bringing the local community together through some other ambitious pursuit. I have had the pleasure of knowing Suleka for many years now, and I am constantly impressed that one woman can accomplish so many things, while keeping a positive attitude and staying grounded. She is, among many other things, the owner/manager of Thai Basil; a restaurant voted “Best Thai Restaurant” by readers of Sacramento News and Review consecutively since 2001.
Member of the Month: Suleka Sun-Lindley
How long have you been a member here at Sacramento Pipeworks, and how did you initially find out about us?
Suleka) I started practicing yoga at Pipeworks in 2009, and I became a member a year after. Two of my favorite yoga teachers are at Pipeworks, and had invited me to practice there. I loved the space so much, I became a member.
You have a very active lifestyle that includes both yoga & climbing. Are there any other hobbies that you enjoy as much as these?
I like all outdoor activities: camping, backpacking, etc. I love Snowboarding a lot! I recently tried paddle boarding and really like it too. I windsurfed and kitesurfed, and I look forward to trying it again. And, of course cooking is one of my passions, along with painting whenever I have time.
Recently you went on an outdoor excursion to Bishop, CA with Blue Aspen Adventures. Do you wish to highlight any exceptional moments of the trip?
The trip was awesome! It was so low key. Everyone was easy going, and no one stressed out about anything, even when we had two cars with flat tires in the middle of nowhere and had to change a tire in the dark. Another car broke down twice in one night. Robert and Rich were great and fun. I helped out with cooking, and everyone was really appreciative. We climbed all day and went to Wild Willie Hot Spring at night. It was epic.
In Sacramento, you own/manage a restaurant, Thai Basil. Would you care to tell us how you came to the restaurant business by way of a background in architecture?
After graduating from UC Davis with a degree in environmental design, I was working as a designer/project manager for various architecture firms for 12 years. My sister and my mom asked me to help them to open a restaurant. I thought I was just helping with the design and construction, but when we opened Thai Basil in Roseville in 1994, I realized I was needed to run both the front and the back of the house. We later opened another one in Elk Grove in 1998, and one in Midtown in 2001. (We decided not to stay in Elk Grove when the lease was up in November of last year).
Since there are many locations to enjoy the authentic Thai cuisine offered to us by Thai Basil, are there any differences between the menu options/ambiance at each location?
There are currently three locations in the Sacramento area: Roseville, Cameron Park and Midtown. Each location is individually owned and operated by each sister, and offers different specialties and unique ambiance. The key items from the original menu are offered at all locations.
Level Up is a lounge that exists upstairs from the midtown restaurant. The lounge includes a full bar and great happy hour specials! More than that, it supports local music, local art, and our local community. What musicians and artists do you find inspirational as of recent, and why?
As part of the Midtown community, we embrace the local art and music. One of our favorite artists is John Krempel, who was our 1st featured artist when we opened Level Up seven years ago. And, Clemon Charles is our favorite musician. Both John and Clemon are very professional and have great personalities, which makes them fun and easy to work with.
Do you make frequent trips back to Thailand, and do you still have friends/family living there?
My mom moved back about 8 years ago, after she retired. I have been visiting Thailand about every three years. This year, I plan on going in November and staying there for a few months, and possibly planning a cooking and yoga retreat.
Your daughter, Hanna, seems to enjoy similar athletic endeavors as yourself. Does she find climbing to be fun?
She is a very active young girl, and I have to work hard to keep up with her. We enjoy snowboarding together. She likes climbing whenever I bring her to Pipeworks.
There is a cute dog that accompanies you on your visits to the gym sometimes. What is the name of the animal, and what does a normal day in the life your pet entail?
“Charcoal” is a three-year-old terrier/poodle mix. He’s friendly and loves riding in the car with me. He’s a mommy’s boy; you can hear his whimper sound when I start climbing. We adopted him from a rescue center in Walnut Creek when he was 6 months old. He goes to the gym with me sometimes, and to the restaurant on the day I work in the office. He also has a play date with his BF, Charlie, down the street on Wednesdays. Our neighbor, Libby, picks him up for a dog run at 6 am on Sat. & Sun. He’s a busy boy!
If YOU could be any animal, what would it be and why?
Big smile ;)! My daughter thinks I should be a mama bear, because I like taking care of people and making them happy. But, I think I would be a big Whale. It would be cool to explore the undersea, where no man has gone, and not be eaten by sharks.