Love Story

Couple are partners in work and at home

Marisa and Dom Wiruhayarn own Big Bowl Pho in Platte County as well as the Tasty Thai restaurant next door and another Tasty Thai in Liberty.
Marisa and Dom Wiruhayarn own Big Bowl Pho in Platte County as well as the Tasty Thai restaurant next door and another Tasty Thai in Liberty. The Kansas City Star

“I think you would enjoy meeting Dom Wiruhayarn,” Marisa Eberting’s teacher told her. “He’s from Thailand.”

That spring of 1987, 27-year-old Marisa was widowed with two small children. She, too, was from Thailand, and she was taking college prep classes at Maple Woods Community College. She wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship but was happy to at least say hello to Dom, a fellow student.

They met at the school and exchanged basic information. Dom was 21 and had been in America one year. When he learned they both lived in the Northland, he asked whether he could visit and meet her children. She agreed, and they began a friendship.

First impressions:

Dom: “Marisa was a good mother and a hard worker.”

Marisa: “Dom was quiet and thoughtful. He often helped me out.”

The unfolding: They began studying together and occasionally ate lunch together. Both were focused on their studies. Neither had time or money for partying or frivolities.

As they got to know each other, they realized they had many qualities in common. By 1989 their friendship had deepened into love.

“I thought we could have a future together,” Dom says.

Marisa admired Dom’s quiet determination and his unflagging work ethic.

The wedding: They decided to get married. With the children, they drove to see Marisa’s former father-in-law, a minister who owned a lake cottage in Minnesota. On July 4, 1989, he married them on the lakeshore. They next day Marisa and Dom drove home to resume work and studies.

Careers: Marisa and Dom both worked for the city of Kansas City (she was a taxpayer specialist manager when she resigned in early 2014). In 2000 they opened Tasty Thai, a restaurant on Prairie View Road in Platte County. Dom managed the business, and during the evenings Marisa waited tables and helped in the back office.

In 2010 they opened another Tasty Thai in Liberty. Last year they launched a third restaurant, Big Bowl Pho, next door to the original Tasty Thai. Marisa also sells her Tiger Cried Sauce to area grocers.

Favorite shared activities: Their work is at the core of their life. On Sunday afternoons they enjoy shopping for supplies for their restaurants. Their only vacation is a buying trip to Chicago they take every other year for work.

Family: They live in the Northland and have three children and two grandchildren.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Marisa: “Dom is a man of action. Though he can look stern, he’s kind and ready to help anyone. He’s a good friend, and we work well together.”

Dom: “Marisa and I share the same values. We respect and care for each other, and we are happy together.”

Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by emailing