Meet Your Neighbor: Ae (Alex) Hanesakda

Bringing Racine County together through food, culture

Restaurant entrepreneur, specializing in Lao cuisine, is inspired to share his culture and bring people together through food

MOUNT PLEASANT, WI – Ae (Alex) Hanesakda chose Mount Pleasant as the location for his restaurant because of the community’s appetite for diversity, and rich history of food and culture.

Hanesakda’s family is from Laos, however he was born in a Thai refugee camp. Hanesakda’s family relocated to Burlington, Wisconsin from Thailand after the Vietnam War, which motivated him to share his family’s heritage through food.

SapSap, translated “delicious, delicious,” is a Lao-inspired restaurant, designed to emulate how Lao people have used food to bring each other together by sharing, instead of individualizing each plate.

“Racine County is awesome,” said Hanesakda. “My mom started selling her homemade eggrolls to friends and my dad would source the ingredients from local farmers. We determined that we needed to introduce more of our culture to our new community.”

ae hanesakda racine

Ae (Alex) Hanesakda

Sap Sap

Hanesakda originally launched the business as a pop-up restaurant, using a rental kitchen. As demand rapidly increased and outpaced their setup, he knew they needed a more permanent solution.

“What better place to call home for our restaurant than Mount Pleasant’s former Totero’s,” said Hanesakda. “Because of our location, we are able to source product from Milwaukee and Chicago.”

The centralized location also draws customers from both metro areas north and south of Racine County. Hanesakda says the diversity in Racine County is amazing and – aligning his philanthropic efforts with community development – Alex hopes to create a cultural experience that brings people together. He is proud to witness the great things happening throughout Racine County, and hopes to contribute to its ongoing development.

“We want to share our culture and bring people together through our food,” said Hanesakda.

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Greater Racine County (GRC) is an initiative of the Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC)  that highlights and promotes the many positive assets of Racine County for those who decide to take root in Racine County.

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