LOGAN SQUARE — If Sunday night's award ceremony was a sign of things to come, 2016 is going to be a good year for the team at Logan Square's Fat Rice.
The restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year during the annual Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence, a ceremony that's been described as the Oscar's for Chicago's culinary and dining scene.
"Literally it's still like, 'Pinch me, did this really happen?'" said Adrienne Lo, general manager and co-owner of Fat Rice.
Lo and chef Abe Conlon opened the Macanese restaurant in 2012 and have continued to rack up awards including a 2013 Bon Appetit magazine Best New Restaurant and Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Still, Sunday's was the biggest shock, according to Lo, as the restaurant was going up against El Ideas, Intro and Parachute for the top honor.
"For us to win, it's amazing," she said. "It's super exciting and totally unexpected.”
The latest award is not all the owners have to celebrate in the new year, as Fat Rice plans to expand at 2957 W. Diversey Ave.
Plans are moving along for the expansion into an area of the restaurant that is currently a waiting area and an adjacent 1,000-square-foot space next door to the restaurant . An opening date has not been finalized, but the project is getting "really close," according to Lo.
The waiting area is being transformed into a cocktail lounge and the storefront next door is being turned into a Chinese bakery.
The bakery will serve homemade breads from a new deck oven as well as sweet and savory buns and other baked goods.
"We always wanted to have this kind of Chinese bakery with Portuguese influence as well," Lo said.
The bakery will be open during the day and serve as a grab-and-go counter, but will have seats for those looking to eat in.
At night the bakery area will allow the main dining area to expand its seating capacity.
"We are just super excited for this year to be able to expand what we are doing, to showcase more of the things that we want to be able to do," Lo said. "We are so happy that we have the support that we do from our staff, from our customers and just friends and family that have believed in what we are doing and continue to support us."
Still in shock from last night's "Restaurant of the Year" award at Jean Banchet. Thank you so much to our team, our supporters, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Jean Banchet Awards team. We feel lucky to be a part of this amazing dining scene and can't wait to show you what else we have in store! #jeanbanchet #CFF #2016isthenewnew 🎉
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