Ridgley Kuang is expanding his Green Leaf brand into Belltown's Tia Lou nightclub. He tells Eater that he plans a soft opening as early as next week.
Kuang's original Green Leaf, in the ID, was already well-known and much loved for its pork & shrimp spring rolls, among other Vietnamese specialties (Das Racist are fans). When he opened a second Green Leaf in April, in the basement level of the Labor Temple on First Avenue in Belltown, he hired a troupe of lion dancers to chase out the evil spirits left over from of a series of failed restaurants and clubs. Good news: it worked. The second Green Leaf is doing just fine, thank you.
Now Kuang is turning his attention six blocks to the south, to the one-time Mexican taqueria called Tia Lou. In recent months, its owners closed the original kitchen and transformed the two-story space (complete with roof garden) into an ultra lounge and custom party venue. "I've had my sights on that block for a long time," Kuang says.
Under a contract with Tia Lou, Green Leaf has had four employees onsite, cooking up food for late-night party-goers for the past week. They order a lot of fried rice, we hear.
Tia Lou, though, only opens at 10 PM, Wednesday through Sunday, but Kuang wants to do lunches and dinners, not just for nightclub patrons but for Belltown's daytime sidewalk dwellers every day of the week. So that's the new plan: a Green Leaf in the 2200 block of First Avenue. "It's a dream location," Kuang says. How he deals with the space will become known in the next couple of weeks.