LINCOLN PARK — Do two Raws make it right?
Raw II has opened in Lincoln Park, which might come as a surprise to the unaffiliated Raw Bar and Grill in Wrigleyville.
Raw II is open at 2203 N. Clybourn Ave. in the space formerly occupied by Rice Cafe. It maintains the same mix of sushi and Japanese and Thai cuisines. It applied for a liquor license as Raw II in May under the ownership of Food Cafe Inc.
Owner Jack Chaiyarat said the menu has been expanded from Rice Cafe's selection.
"We have more food," he said. "We have Hawaiian food, poke."
The response to the trendy Hawaiian salad, he added, has been "just amazing."
But staff at Raw Bar and Grill, a longtime establishment at 3720 N. Clark St., said this week that the owner insists there is "no affiliation" with the other Raw in Lincoln Park. It's a raw seafood bar and restaurant probably best known for boasting of alligator on its menu, just up the street from Wrigley Field.
Chaiyarat said he believes the two restaurants are distinct and can coexist. "Raw here is more like sushi and stuff," he said. "I'm sure a lot of people know that we have more Asian food."
A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which hands out business licenses, said it does not adjudicate who has the right to a name. Such incidents are left to the businesses or the courts to iron out.
Raw Bar's owner did not respond to requests for comment on whether the business would fight the issue or let the two restaurants coexist in their separate neighborhoods.
For now, Raw II is BYOB while it awaits final approval of its liquor license. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.