HaiSous hopes to show Chicago Vietnamese food like the city has never tasted, and Thai and Danielle Dang are opening their eagerly-awaited Pilsen restaurant early. The Dangs will open HaiSous on Wednesday with a special three-course, family-style dinner that’s also available Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant will then host an open house with city officials on Monday, June 26 with food and drink. Tickets to these dinners are available via EventBrite.
Coinciding with the opening, Crain’s attempted to track the whereabouts of the Dangs’ former employers. But Komal Patel and Attila Gyulai have vanished. The husband-and-wife couple owned Embeya, the once-successful West Loop restaurant that opened with Thai Dang as chef and Danielle Dang as beverage director. Patel’s family also said they’re unaware of where Patel and Gyulai went. Bank records seem to show Komal and Gyulai plotted their exit, as they’ve left the country and disconnected their cell phones, according to Crain’s.
“You know how there’s Making a Murderer on Netflix?” Thai Dang said in May. “This is, literally, ‘The Making of a Narcissist/Con Artist.’ [Attila] has done so many bad things that never came out until it happened to us.”
“Embeya” was a childhood nickname for Thai Dang, a passionate chef and Vietnamese immigrant. The restaurant’s name showed how personal the project was to him. That said, his forced departure in 2015 was also doubly hurtful. The Dangs, along with Thai’s brother Kenny, sued Komal and Gyulai for stealing money from them while operating the restaurant. A judge ruled in the Dangs’ favor, ordering Komal and Gyulai to pay them $1.5 million. But the couple has never showed up in court.
The Dangs have dug into bank records. They said they have emails and “chapters” of evidence showing wrongdoing. Other chefs and restaurant owners have also been mistreated, according to the Dangs. Komal and Gyulai didn’t return several phone messages and emails requesting comment shortly after Embeya closed in June 2016. Even though it wasn’t the Dangs’ responsibility to pay them, unpaid fines from Embeya also affected when HaiSous would open.
“There is so much to talk about,” Danielle Dang said in May. “There’s a lot of dirtbags in the industry—we read about them in Eater all the time—but this is special. I’ve never read about it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Despite the sour taste left by Embeya, the Dangs are ready to rebound and to add their unique flavors to Pilsen. Find out what resiliency tastes like starting on Wednesday at HaiSous.