The second iteration of Strings Ramen Shop is set for a soft opening on St. Patrick's Day, alongside a tea shop at the same Lincoln Park address. Grasswood, a 16-seat cafe serving a selection of unique teas from around the world, will open next door.
Grasswood owner Mathias Rengert didn't want to steal Strings 2's thunder, preferring to wait until now before publicizing his tea room at 1629 N. Halsted St. They'll serve direct-trade organic teas, and there's also plans to hold tea-education seminars to help people better enjoy the beverage. "We want to discourage people from treating tea just as a to-go item," Rengert said.
There won't be food when Grasswood first opens, and there aren't plans to serve full meals. However, Rengert hopes to eventually serve Japanese teacakes. Customers will have the option to have tea prepared "Gong Fu" style, which he describes as "brewed with more leaves for less time," and Grasswood staff will pay great attention to water temperatures, Rengert says.
The tea room has a separate entrance from Strings, but there's also a shared door inside. The two businesses worked together in designing the interiors. Rengert also said they'll collaborate with Strings and serve a special tea drink each week using fresh juices and microgreens. The first such beverage includes puerh tea, Japanese yuzu juice and mint.
The first Strings in Chinatown earned a large following, and Strings 2 at 1629 N. Halsted St. will feature menu items exclusive to Lincoln Park. While chef/owner Kee Chan continues to finalize his offerings before the Tuesday opening, his crew shared a sample menu from Strings 2 that includes new rice bowls and four ramen selections not seen at the original Strings. Check back later when Chan and company are ready to share the final menu.
Here's Strings 2: