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Caviar Founders Opening Thai Chicken Brick-and-Mortar Restaurant on September 8

Berkeley gets the first link in what is hopefully a khao mun gai chain

Megan Minturn/Chick’n Rice

The team that started Caviar (and eventually sold it to Square) is back at it with another food business, a Thai-focused brick-and-mortar restaurant called Chick’n Rice. Their location at 2136 Center Street (between Shattuck and Oxford) opens on September 8th, the first in what the group hopes will soon be the country’s preeminent chain dedicated to khao mun gai, a poached chicken and rice dish.

To bring that dish to the masses, founders (and Cal alums) Jason Wang, Shawn Tsao, Vince Cao, and John Keh partnered with Thai restaurateur Chavayos (Bob) Rattakul. “In the East Bay, it was sort of a dish that was missing, and we felt that we could bring this concept from Thailand to the Bay Area,” Wang tells Eater. The concept isn’t totally foreign: Here in San Francisco, Rooster & Rice has focused on the same dish (and with a similar name), offering it to lunch crowds at two locations.

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In addition to traditional khao mun gai, Chick’n Rice will also serve fried chicken, braised pork, and vegetarian options, all served with rice, cucumbers, cilantro, and sauce. As is traditional, chicken broth will be served on the side for dipping (or drenching). To drink, there’s Thai iced tea and guava juice, and for dessert expect coconut milk ice cream with sticky rice.

Chick’n Rice will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a focus on take-out (but not, at least to start, delivery). There will also be about ten seats for sit-down diners. After specializing in delivery for so long, Wang says “there’s something about actually serving food, seeing people come in and get food they really love,” that he and the team are excited for. “It’s a different path.”

The next stop on that path could be another location in the Bay Area or else another city like Seattle. Stay tuned.

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