LOGAN SQUARE — The seafood-in-a-bag craze is sweeping Chicago.
The Crab Pad is slated to open in late spring at 2529 N. Milwaukee Ave.
"We started [Angry Crab] together and I parted ways," said Theresa Tran, 30, who is opening The Crab Pad with her boyfriend, Andrew Nguyen. "I saw that there was a big market for it when we opened so why not open a sister one?"
The Crab Pad is in no way connected to The Angry Crab other than in concept.
The restaurant will feature Cajun-style seafood in a bag by the pound. Customers choose their seasoning and sauce.
Tran moved to Chicago from San Jose about a year ago and helped build the menu and find a location for The Angry Crab, which opened in February at 5665 N. Lincoln Ave., and has had lines ever since.
She has not been affiliated with The Angry Crab, which is expanding to a second location in Wicker Park, since it opened.
Tran said she parted ways on good terms around the time the restaurant opened and went back to her 9-to-5 office job, but decided the market in Chicago was ready for more seafood-by-the-bag.
Nguyen, her boyfriend and co-owner on the project, moved to Chicago three weeks ago from the Bay Area, where the Cajun seafood-by-the-bag concept is huge — the most well-known spot being The Boiling Crab, according to Tran and Nguyen.
"It's cool being on the ground floor of everything," Nguyen said. "Back home they are a dime a dozen. It's pretty exciting to see Chicago people accept it.”
The owners hope to open The Crab Pad in early June. The restaurant will be BYOB and have about 100 seats in the former Boustan Mediterranean Cafe.
"People really enjoy it, obviously there's always a long wait at the Angry Crab so the concept works," Nguyen said. "It brings us a lot of excitement. We like the people out here [in Logan Square]. We think it’s a good neighborhood.”
One big difference The Crab Pad will have, which the owners hope set it apart, is a ice cream-on-a-stick bar similar to Popbar in New York.
There will be a separate counter in the restaurant where customers can get a treat either while waiting for a table to open up (if there is a wait) or on their way out.
Customers pick a flavor, drizzle and a topping to coat it in.
The restaurant is partnering with Milk and Wood in San Jose on the ice cream counter.
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