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Ravenswood's Getting A Thai Restaurant That Spins Motown & Classic Soul

Rock 'n Roll Noodle Co. is graduating from the farmers market scene to brick and mortar next month.

Rock 'n Roll Noodle's Mad Love
Rock 'n Roll Noodle's Mad Love
Anna Abbey
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Over the last seven years, Rock 'n Roll Noodle Co. has developed a following, slinging Thai food at Chicago's farmers markets and at music festivals including Lollapalooza and Riot Fest. Now owner Anna Abbey is preparing to open her first brick and mortar restaurant next month—Rock 'n Roll Noodle's Mad Love. Abbey, whose parents opened one of Chicago's first Thai restaurants in the 1970s, promises her space will offer something no other Thai restaurant can offer.

"Have you ever been to a Thai restaurant that spins vinyl and plays Motown and Old Soul?" Abbey said.

Abbey's opening up a small spot with room for about 30 people at 1810 W. Montrose Ave. in mid-March in Ravenswood. They've launched a Kickstarter, which ends on Tuesday with a modest goal of raising $6,000, but Mad Love will open regardless. In the 1970s, Abbey's Thai immigrant parents opened and ran The Thai Room on Western Avenue, where she learned much from her older generations. She hopes to harness that immigrant work ethic and spirit to create a restaurant with authentic flavors.

"You can expect some really super traditional flavors and preparation, being that's my background," she said. "But at the same time, I'm American and I love American comfort foods."

For example, Abbey described a dish that mixes Massaman curry with mashed potatoes—her version of mashed potatoes and gravy. Abbey also wants to offer Thai breakfast in the future.

Mixing music and food is ideal for Abbey, and she promises a warm environment that blends her love for Western songs with her Thai heritage. They've had the space near for almost a year, as they announced the restaurant in May. She also wants to team up with a charity and help impoverished teens by offering them meals. After all, she is calling her restaurant "Mad Love."