The pending departure of Penny's Noodles Shop in Wicker Park is giving Bill Kim an opportunity to bring his brand of ramen to the neighborhood. Chef Kim confirmed that early next year a second iteration of Urbanbelly will take over the Penny's space near the Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection.
"Wicker Park is a vibrant community that we have long wanted to explore and it is an honor to bring our signature noodle, rice and dumping concept to the neighborhood," Kim said in a statement.
Penny's ownership alluded to the arrival of another restaurant in their Facebook post announcing their Jan. 2 closure. That post mentioned that "the new owners have offered to consider hiring as many of our current employees as possible and we are grateful for that."
Kim mentioned the workers in his statement, lauding Penny's 25 years at that location. He said that "we very much respect the loyalty the owners have built with the community, guests and employees." There will be more details on the project. DNAinfo first reported Kim's possible involvement.
For those unfamiliar with Kim's Urbanbelly concept, it began at 3053 N. California Ave. in Avondale before moving in 2013 to the West Loop, sharing a space with Kim's Korean barbecue spot, BellyQ. That spot will remain put. Meanwhile, Wicker Park continues to amass ramen restaurants with Oiistar, Furious Spoon already there, and Kukai Ramen & Izakya arriving in mid-February in the old Max's Wine Dive space. Kim says he'll release more information on Urbanbelly Wicker Park in early 2016.