Two years after opening, Logan Square's critically-acclaimed Macanese restaurant, Fat Rice, is expanding with an eye toward cultural preservation.
Construction on two sections of the restaurant has already begun, with Fat Rice designer Dionele Jakubow taking on the project. It should be finished by early summer.
First, the 500 square-foot waiting area that is attached to the kitchen will be transformed into a cocktail lounge. Chef/owner Abraham Conlon says the move made sense as locals already show up there for a cocktail and quick snack. New Year's Eve diners sipped cocktails while waiting for their tables in that area.
Additionally, about 1,000 square feet of untapped area will transform into a Chinese bakery during day hours, switching to a petisco (small snacks) bar at night. The "grab and go" concept will explore a different side of Fat Rice, but in a more casual way.
The expansion also calls for research and development, as Conlon and general manager/owner Adrienne Lo will next week embark on a month-long trip to Asia. They plan on visiting Macau, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore to further explore Macanese and Eurasian cuisine and finish recipes they began on a previous visit.
The pair also plan on talking to Macanese elders at length for ideas on how to preserve and further Macanese cuisine, as they feel it's threatened to be forgotten by modern times.
In other Fat Rice expansion news, the piri piri chicken concept revealed this past November is still in the works, but no new information was released. Look for more details as plans draw closer to completion. Everything's expected to be finished by early summer.