A new Chinese restaurant with some West Coast star power has opened in, of all places, little old Prosper, Texas.
Tam's currently executive chef and partner at a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, called Bitter & Twisted. His background includes his role as sous chef at James Beard-nominated Betelnut restaurant in San Francisco. He was also head R&D Chef for the PF Chang’s China Bistro chain.
Chinese Neighbor will have an elevated menu of modern Chinese dishes, with signature items that include the Dumpling Burger, Rice-Rocket Salad, and Cheeseburger Egg Rolls.
A release says that Tam's inspiration for many of the items on his menu come from culinary icon Cecilia Chiang, whom he also credits for shaping his career.
His goal is to redefine the idea of Asian fast-casual with a fun, fresh, light-hearted menu and fine-dining quality at a lower price point, with the convenience of counter service.
His partners include Benny Sutanto and Daniel Lu, both of Alida Restaurant Supply. Lu says in a statement that their plan is to open additional locations over the next three years. "We are already actively looking for our second and third locations," he says.
The group is actively looking in the Plano-Frisco area for its next location and hopes to open number two by mid-2020.
On the Prosper location, the trio worked with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' Blue Star Land, LLP and Lincoln Property, and are bullish on the area.
"There are a relatively small number of dining options in the immediate area, and population rates are exploding," Sutanto says.
Tam notes that the city of Prosper is the fastest-growing city in North Texas, and that Chinese Neighbor will meet the community's appetite for casual, high-quality restaurants. They'll be open Monday-Saturday, closed on Sundays, but with lunch hours on weekdays.
"And I am excited to break through stereotypes and share the flavors and dishes I’ve grown up with," he says.