Chicken & Rice Guys Debut First Dine-In Restaurant
The Chicken & Rice Guys food truck hatched about four years ago, bringing New York City halal cart-style chicken and rice to the Boston area. Now, it’s about to open its first dine-in restaurant. A 30-seat, counter service spot opens in Medford Square on Monday.
The eatery has been in the works since fall 2014 and was originally slated for a mid-2015 debut. But the space, formerly part of World Furniture Center (which remains in business on two other floors of the building), required a complete gut renovation, and there were construction and permitting holdups, senior operations manager Damien Yee said. The new kitchen will be the home base for the Guys’ catering arm, he added.
Last spring, Chicken & Rice Guys forayed into the fast-casual restaurant business with a takeout spot downtown, and it’s also part of a temporary food court inside the Prudential. But the Medford location is a big step for the growing company, cofounded by Ian So, Jenny Giang, Kevin Lau, and Jaemin Lee. In Boston, the shop is just open on weekdays, targeting the working crowd. The Prudential pop-up is open daily until 7 p.m., but only until Eataly opens in Back Bay. The Medford restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and will eventually have a larger menu than the typical Chicken & Rice Guy offerings.
The Guys are collaborating with a consulting chef, aptly named Albert Cook, on things like falafel, house-made hummus, and pita fries, as well as a signature iced tea, Yee said. To start, the Medford location will offer the same menu available on the Chicken & Rice Guys’ four food trucks and other shops. That includes grilled chicken, lamb gyro, or fried tofu, atop a mountain of orange-tinted rice, with house-made garlic, hot, and barbecue sauces.
Chicken & Rice Guys are kicking off Medford service with a “grand hatching” from 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on Monday, February 15. The first 100 visitors will get a free snack size plate, and all guests should look for a golden coin under their trays all day—the finder gets free chicken and rice for life. There will also be T-shirt and gift card giveaways, but no word on the company’s wackier swag.
Medford isn’t the final stop for the Chicken & Rice Guys. They don’t have any new locations to report just yet, but they would like to expand to areas like Somerville and Allston, with a strong student and young professional populations, Yee said. Also the president of the Chicken & Rices Guys Foundation, he added the company plans to bolster is philanthropy this year, too.
Chicken & Rice Guys, 64 Salem St., Medford; cnrguys.com.