HaiSous, the ambitious Vietnamese restaurant from acclaimed chef Thai Dang, will open on June 26 in Pilsen and reservations are now available. It’s a long-awaited return to the kitchen for Dang, who departed Embeya two years ago amid acrimonious circumstances after opening the West Loop restaurant in 2013. But it’s different at HaiSous: Dang and his wife Danielle are calling their own shots as restaurant owners.
The Dangs are taking pride in hiring locally. They’re currently training staff and Danielle said 30 of their 32 employees live in Pilsen. HaiSous wants to be part of the community, and that’s important. Restaurateurs are flocking to the neighborhood to purchase property, and long-time locals feel they’re being squeezed out of their homes unfairly.
When HaiSous finally opens, the Dangs will introduce Pilsen—and the rest of Chicago—to something unique to the city. Dang aims to build flavors by cooking in clay pots over open flames. The fire should provide a nice visual for diners who will be able to see into the open kitchen while seated at their tables.
The space also hides a surprise. The Dangs are also opening a casual cafe called Cà Phê Dá, and translated from the Vietnamese, it means “iced coffee.” The Dangs won’t open the cafe until the end of July, about a month after HaiSous opens. It also includes a full bar with boozy drinks developed by Danielle Dang. The menu will feature banh mi and it’ll be open for breakfast and lunch, and late night. That allows HaiSous to concentrate on dinner and weekend brunch. Authentic coffee is being sourced from Vietnam, from a facility run by the family of Thai Dang’s sister in law.
The June 26 opening will be marked by a ribbon cutting with Ald. (25th) Danny Solis’ office. It’s been a long journey for the Dangs but they’re almost ready to show off their hard work. Stay tuned for more on HaiSous in the next two weeks.