Fat Rice Begins a New Era With Bakery, Cocktail Bar and Tasting Menus

From hot dog buns to housemade Malort, there's a lot to love
July 12, 2016
by Matt Kirouac

Start lining up now at Fat Rice. One of the most revered restaurants in Chicago just got bigger and better, if that’s even possible, with the addition of an adjoining bakery, new cocktail bar and tasting-menu options. It’s a bold era for the nationally lauded Macanese restaurant from Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo, and if past success is any indication the Chicago pastry and cocktail scene will never be the same. 

(Photo courtesy of Fat Rice)

The Bakery at Fat Rice: The aptly dubbed Bakery is unlike anything else in Chicago. The 24-seat space, situated directly next to the restaurant, features a variety of Chinese- and Portuguese-inspired pastries of both the sweet and savory persuasion. These include guava and cheese buns, coconut tarts, Portuguese egg tarts, ube roll cake and malasadas with marshmallow fluff. One highlight is the Chinese hot dog bun, an homage to the iconic Chicago-style hot dog. To drink, there’s Hong Kong-style milk tea, mango milk, ginger coffee, teas from Rare Tea Cellar and something called the “Double Duck,” a combo of milk tea and coffee hand-foamed with evaporated milk. And that's not all. The bakery closes at 2 PM to transform for evening service into a dining area for parties of six or more — as well as add a stand-up petisco bar — with Portuguese-inspired small bites like crudos, seafood escabeche, sardines and octopus salads served with the bakery’s fresh bread.

(Photo courtesy of Fat Rice)

The Ladies’ Room: Sexy and unique can easily be applied to the astonishingly unique drink program at Fat Rice’s highly anticipated cocktail bar, which echoes the restaurant’s daring culinary program in beverage form. The transportive space, bedecked with Chinese antiques from Lo’s grandparents’ house and awash with deep red walls and pinup posters, is unlike any other cocktail lounge in town. Courtesy of Conlon and bar manager Annie Beebe-Tron, the ambitious drink list takes a culinary approach to mixology via technique and flavor combinations hinged on housemade bitters and spirits. (Take the use of Visinata, a sipping spirit made from sour Great Lakes cherries infused with vanilla, or a riff on Malort.) Original creations include the Ricky Royale made with cava, cassis, Rittenhouse rye and marigold; the Goan Calamando with Feni cashew liqueur, Iraqi date syrup, rum and roasted almond orgeat; and Onu You Didn’t featuring plum shrub, umeboshi vinegar, Visinata and Onu Tuica Romanesca, a Romanian plum brandy created collaboratively by Seedling Farms, CH Distillery and Fat Rice’s Transylvanian janitor. 

(Photo courtesy of Fat Rice)

The tasting menus: A new feature for Fat Rice, tasting menus are now being offered in the bakery area and in the regular restaurant. Exclusive to the bakery at dinnertime, Conlon will serve a degustation called The Voyage, which has Fat Rice favorites like potstickers, and another menu called The Venture, an ever-changing spree of dishes inspired by the chef’s travels. Additionally, Fat Rice’s primary dining space has also implemented a tasting menu, which features a dynamic collection of steadily rotating dishes. 

(Photo courtesy of Fat Rice)

The details: The Bakery at Fat Rice is now open Tuesday–Friday from 7 AM–2 PM and weekends from 9 AM–2 PM. The petisco bar operates Tuesday–Saturday from 5:30–11 PM. The Ladies' Room is open Tuesday–Saturday from 5:30–11 PM. Reservations are required for The Ladies’ Room and can be made by calling Fat Rice during the day. 

The Bakery at Fat Rice: 2951 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-661-9544
The Ladies’ Room: 2953 W. Diversey Ave.
Fat Rice: 2957 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-661-9170

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