The structure currently known as “The Gallery” was built in 1892 by the grandfather of the current owner/managing director, Surachai Leosawasthiphong. The grandfather, an immigrant from China, married a Chiang Mai woman on whose property the structure was built. The site was initially the family store which sold cotton silk and household items. Customers could enter from the street or from the special pier on the river. Surachai’s family used the structure as the family home until 1978, when they moved to a new house.
In 1989, Surachai decided to restore the decaying structure. After six months of work, “ The Gallery” opened for business. The front building, which currently houses the art gallery, was built in traditional Chinese style in stucco with molded motifs. The rear structure, the current riverside restaurant, was built of teak-wood in Northern style. The owners proudly note that the mixture of architectural style reflects the ethnic mix of their family. It is one of the oldest structures remaining in Chiang Mai and has received many awards over the years. These include:
- The Best Conserved Structure Awards 1991 – The Lanna Architect Associations.
- The Outstanding Conservation Awards 1993 – The Siam Society under Royal Patronage
- The Best of Asia 1994 – A culinary tribute from TIME magazine ( Business & Pleasure. The Ultimate Guide To The Top 80 Cities & resorts in 23 countries ) naming The Gallery as one of the best restaurants in Asia.
- Excellent Establishment Awards 1996 – The country’s top marketing experts.
- November 24th, 1996. A historical visit by the US First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the US ambassador to Thailand Mr. William Itoh with their distinguished guests during the Loy Kratong festival.
- Beautiful Chiang Mai Awards 1997 – The governor of Chiangmai in corporation with Siam and Lanna Architect Associations.
- September 1998. The Gallery was chosen to be the “AMAZING RESTAURANT OF THAILAND” surveyed by TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND.
- Thailand’s Best restaurant 2004 by Thailand Tatler
- The Best Preservation of Lanna Heritage Award 2007 – The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage and The Lanna Architect Associations – November 2007, Chiang Mai