NORTH MAYFAIR — The anticipation for Wednesday's debut of Chicago's first Seafood City has built to fever pitch.
Expect fans of the California-based chain to form a queue well in advance of 9 a.m., when the doors are officially set to open at 5033 N. Elston Ave.
What's all the fuss about? Here's what you need to know before you go:
1. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Seafood City is so much more than the fish market its name suggests. It's actually a full-service supermarket specializing in Filipino (and Pan-Asian) grocery items.
That said, fresh seafood is one of the chain's specialties — they'll even clean and fry your selection on site.
2. Jollibee, the largest restaurant chain in the Philippines, is joining the party.
When Seafood City comes to town, it brings other Filipino businesses with it. The supermarket only takes up half of an 87,000-square-foot building that formerly housed a Kmart, with the rest of the space occupied by other Filipino companies.
According to reports from Chicago magazine and Eater Chicago, fellow tenants include the insanely popular Jollibee. This will be the first Jollibee within city limits, following a Skokie location that opened over the summer which has won raves for its Chicken Joy fried chicken, Jolly Spaghetti with sweet sauce and peach mango pie.
Red Ribbon bakery is coming, too, along with Crispy Town. No, they won't all be open Wednesday, but soon.
3. Come hungry. Typical features inside Seafood City stores include Grill City, which serves up Filipino barbecue and street food.
4. The early bird gets the rice. The first 500 customers on Wednesday will receive a 25-pound bag of Milagrosa Thai jasmine rice for $1.
5. According to BuzzFeed, Filipino food makes for an excellent hangover cure. Here's your shopping list before you head to Seafood City.
Since opening its first store in San Diego in 1989, Seafood City has expanded to more than 20 locations, the majority of them in California, but also has toeholds in Washington, Hawaii and Las Vegas.