One of Chicago’s most popular Chinese restaurants, Qing Xiang Yuan, is about to hatch a fast-casual cousin in the Loop. JIAO is still waiting for licenses, but it should open soon at 18 S. Wabash Avenue.
When QXY opened in 2014 inside the Richland Food Court, the restaurant mostly targeted Chinatown regulars. JIAO is ownership’s attempt at spreading dumpling love mainstream. Armed with a cute new mascot, the company hopes to open locations across America.
QXY and JIAO uses a family recipe passed on for generations. Founder Jiefang Man claims it’s a 300-year-old secret recipe. Since 2014 at QXY’s original location and the new space it moved into in 2015, Man claims to have served 5.5 million dumplings in varieties including pork & cabbage, lamb & coriander, and chicken & mushroom.
Wanting to keep up with busy downtown Chicago office workers, JIAO’s owner has modernized its ordering system. Management developed its own smartphone apps instead of purchasing an existing app and reskinning it for their purpose. The goal is to have food ready within five minutes of an order. The app will be launched on iOS and Android.
Ownership has worked hard on developing a clean and warm space. They’ve created a mascot, named JIAO, and used it on stuffed dolls and T-shirts. JIAO will also introduce QXY’s new tea line, CHA, to the states. Customers will find milk teas at the restaurant.
Take a stroll through the 60-seat, 1,700-square-foot space below. There’s still no official opening date, so come back for updates.