By Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist Published Mar 07, 2013 at 3:05 PM

I've been a longtime regular at the Thai Palace, 838 N. Old World 3rd St., only partly due to proximity.

It was just down the block from my old job and was a great place to meet with sources or public officials. For years, the Thai Palace was a favorite of the Downtown lunch crowd by offering a tasty menu of spicy ethnic food that was authentic in preparation and presentation.

Milwaukee has other good Thai restaurants; in fact, the Thai Palace is right next door to another popular place for that kind of food, The King and I.

I'm thinking that kind of competition might have lots to do with the "Building For Sale" banner on the Thai Palace last weekend that announced the restaurant has closed.

That means no more lunchtime buffet, an affordable menu of beef, chicken and other curried meat with fried chicken wings, Thai pad noodles, egg rolls and succulent won-ton soup.

I conducted numerous  interviews or just met with colleagues for lunch at least 100 times over the years (really), including all the times I just came by myself to catch a private meal.

The Thai Palace was truly one of my favorite spots to eat in downtown, just one of the regular businesses you find yourself patronizing so often that it's surprising to look up one day and discover it's gone.

I didn't know the owners personally; most times a smiling staff of women were on duty as host or servers. I never had a bad meal and always felt more than full after partaking of the buffet.

The demise of Thai Palace for whatever reason is just another story about America's troubled economic present-day reality. I don't know why they closed but I'll miss them.

But I'm also confident like with most establishments that fade away, they will be replaced by the next business folks in search of similar success.

As always, when it comes to finding good places to eat in Milwaukee Downtown, I'm curious to see what comes next.

Eugene Kane Senior Writer and Columnist

Eugene Kane is veteran Milwaukee journalist and nationally award winning columnist.

Kane writes about a variety of important issues in Milwaukee and society that impact residents of all backgrounds.