Fans of Urban Belly who aren't fans of the restaurant's long lines will welcome the news that chef Bill Kim has just signed the lease for the Vella Cafe space at 1912 N. Western Ave. By fall, the location will become Belly Shack, Chicago Mag reported this afternoon. We got in touch with Kim to find out more about his latest endeavor — read on to find out more about everything from the origins of its Latin-Asian menu to why he picked Logan Square.
Latin-Asian is new territory for you — what inspired that?
I think it's something very different for the city. With Urban Belly doing so well, we're able to go down same road: putting out quality food at a reasonable price.
My wife is Puerto Rican, and lately I've been eating some of her mom's food that she cooks for me. And you know, I've always thought that Asian and Latin flavors are similar in many ways, so it's just a natural match for me. It's a natural combination of me and my wife [designer Yvonne Cadiz-Kim] coming together and doing a restaurant together.
What's your wife's involvement with this?
Well she's designing the restaurant. She also designed Urban Belly. But here we're getting inspired by Los Angeles - the street graffiti, things like that. it's going to be very modern, and a little bit edgy.
Why Logan Square?
Well it's just a mile and a half from Urban Belly. I wanted it to be close to our target audience, and I want to be able to take a bicycle between the restaurants if I wanted to. I didn't want to stray too far from where we're currenty at.