Great Sea Restaurant, the Chinese-Korean spot in Albany Park known for its lollipop-style chicken wings, opened its new location earlier this month across the street from its original spot. That location closed on March 24 after 32 years in preparation for the move to a larger and more modern space at 3253 W. Lawrence Avenue. The restaurant also tweaked its name to Great Sea Lollipop Wings.
The wings, among Chicago’s best, are hacked and fried. They’re smothered in Great Sea’s sauce, a sticky concoction with a little heat. The sauce, in regular and spicy, is available for sale. An order of wings costs $16.99, a slight increase from across the street where it cost $15.49. Most people aren’t used to paying that price for wings, but Great Sea’s aren’t ordinary wings. The restaurant gives customer a deep bowl filled with wings — there’s at least 20 — along with a bowl of rice.
The new restaurant is about 1 1⁄2 times larger than the original space. There’s also been another change in ownership. After purchasing the restaurant from the original owners in 2016, Frank Wang sold the restaurant. The new owner’s name is James Bee. Bee has hired Great Sea’s employee Lilly Lan to manage the space. Lan couldn’t say if it’s the same Bee behind Sai Cafe in Lincoln Park; she only said “he was busy as a bee.” Wang, in his 80s, decided to retire.
There are a few new items at the new spot: salt and pepper fries and salt and pepper shrimp. These fried shrimp come head-on in their shells with a healthy dose of Sichuan peppercorns. The new restaurant also has a smoothie bar in front and new tea selections. Lan said they’re considering serving Taiwanese shaved ice this summer depending on how customers react to the smoothies.
The restaurant is BYO. New ownership didn’t want to pursue a liquor license. Lan said she feels customers will like the atmosphere at the new restaurant. It’s more open and modern. Even the bathrooms have automatic light switches.
The Tribune first noticed Great Sea’s reopening.
Great Sea, 3253 W. Lawrence Avenue, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.