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Sticky Rice Chiang Mai Brings Northern Thailand to Wicker Park

By Alisa Hauser | February 11, 2014 10:12am | Updated on February 11, 2014 10:16am
 Sticky Rice Chiang Mai at 1746 N. Western Ave.
Sticky Rice Chiang Mai Opens, 1746 N. Western Ave.
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WICKER PARK —  After several months of anticipation, a popular North Center Thai restaurant known for its adventurous dishes is making an entry into the Wicker Park area with the opening Tuesday of a second location, on Western Avenue.

Komane Purananda, Kritsana Muangkaew, Vilairat Sanseeha and Wiyada Ingier, all owners or workers at Sticky Rice at 4018 N. Western Ave., are opening Sticky Rice Chiang Mai at 1746 N. Western Ave., in a storefront that formerly housed a Dunkin' Donuts.

Scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sticky Rice Chiang Mai offers many dishes that can be found in the original Sticky Rice, such as papaya and beef salads and curries, as well as new dishes like Thai Curry Puffs, a Tilapia apple salad that contains an entire fish, baby squid lime soup and more.

 Sticky Rice Chiang Mai opens on Tuesday at 1746 N. Western Ave.
Sticky Rice Chiang Mai opens on Tuesday at 1746 N. Western Ave.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

The expansion, which will bring 15 new jobs to the neighborhood, comes around the 10-year anniversary of the first Sticky Rice, said Muangkaew, the wife of Komane Purananda.

Three of the women involved in the original Sticky Rice became business partners for the Wicker Park location and bring affordable and authentic dishes that are from Chiang Mai, a large city in northern Thailand where they are all from, to the area.

Located in West Wicker Park on the border of both Logan Square and Bucktown, the 1,500-square-foot space joins a complex that includes a Snappy convenience store, Mobil gas station and a nail salon.

The warm, dark 55-seat interior features authentic Thai decorations, including colorful umbrellas that hang upside down from the ceiling and wood carvings along the entrance and walls.

The backs of the laminated menus contain collages using photos clipped out of Thailand tourism magazines to help show diners more about "what life is like in Northern Thailand," Muangkaew said.

Flipping page by page through a menu divided into appetizers, soups, salads, noodles and entrees, Muangkaew said that while the original location has around 100 items, Sticky Rice Chiang Mai will offer about half that amount.

"We picked the most popular [dishes]," Muangkaew said.

Among the new dishes is a curry puff appetizer: a Thai version of a Mexican empanada containing curry powder, potato, onion and carrots and served with cucumber salad topped with ground peanuts. 

The puffs, which were conceived by Sanseeha, come four to an order and cost $6.50.

There are 10 salads on the menu, including a cucumber salad and an eggplant salad. The whole-fish Tilapia Apple Salad is topped with onions, ginger, apple, pineapple, cilantro and mint, served with spicy dressing.

Other new items include Rote Gang Kare Chicken, which has bread similar to Indian roti that can be dipped into a Japanese-style kare curry paste cooked in potato and onion. Another new addition is Kluay Buat Chee, a dessert made with bananas in coconut milk. 

The restaurant is BYOB and while there's a website planned for www.stickyricecm.com, it has not gone live yet. A Sticky Rice Chiang Mai Facebook page offers plenty of photos and updates.

Delivery is planned to be added next week, for a $3 charge and a minimum order of $10. Delivery boundaries are Kedzie Avenue to the west, Ashland Avenue to the east, Division Street to the south and Fullerton Avenue to the north.

Sticky Rice Chiang Mai, 1746 N. Western Ave. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon-10 p.m. Sundays.  Phone: 312-818- 1810.