Source: Chicago Tribune
Two of the fastest growing restaurants in Chicago right now are about to collide at a single address in Lakeview. FireFin Poke and Furious Spoon, neither of which existed before 2015, have announced that they’ll be opening their respective fifth locations in the same building: the former Manhole nightclub at 3200 N. Halsted St.
But don’t worry about any questionable poke/ramen mashups. Though the restaurants will share the same address, they will have separate entrances and dining areas. Chef Shin Thompson and restaurateur Anshul Mangal are involved in both brands, and the idea of opening up a sort-of joint project has been in the works for a while.
Thompson says the restaurants will complement each other: “Poke is refreshing, something you want to eat in the summer. Ramen is antithesis. It’s very filling and perfect in the winter time. With Furious, we discovered that our busy times are always in the colder months. With the FireFin, winter is the slow time.” He adds that staff could be moved from one to the other, depending on which is busier.
Chef Rodelio Aglibot, who developed the FireFin Poke concept, says real estate also played a huge role in the partnership: “The space was too big for just one concept, but two made sense financially.” Both Aglibot and Thompson agree that, if the partnership works, they’re likely to replicate the model elsewhere.
The FireFin Poke half of the building plans to open this spring, while Furious Spoon plans to open in the summer.
Furious Spoon also has a new Pilsen location that’s close to opening, while FireFin has three other locations under construction.
“Everyone is trying to establish themselves in the poke field,” Aglibot says. “There are a half-dozen concepts already. We want to have a stronghold in Chicago.” That could mean up to 15 locations in the city, plus a huge expansion to another city. Aglibot isn’t ready to say where but says plans should be announced this summer.