First there was Shophouse, the Monday night popup that Lark sous chef Wiley Frank and wife Poncharee Kounpungchart (aka PK) began at Licorous, then recently moved to La Bete. Then the duo rechristened the business Little Uncle when fast-casual chain Chipotle rolled out a Southeast Asian concept called ShopHouse. Now we get word that Frank and PK are going brick-and-mortar, taking over the Madison Street walkup window recently vacated by Baguette.
The couple is turning the spot into a dedicated takeout shop for its menu of street-style Thai dishes. In a city overrun with sticky-sweet pad Thai joints, Little Uncle’s plates are a welcome blast of sour, heat and the delightful funk that characterizes good Thai food. Frank says the Little Uncle shop will likely open in the first half of December. He and PK are aiming for lunches only, four days a week, to start, then expanding after the new year.
As anyone who ever ate a bahn mi on the sidewalk outside Baguette can attest, the location isn’t about to accommodate Little Uncle’s popular Monday night popup dinners. Those will still be at La Bete, says Frank. The menu on Madison will include carryout-friendly plates like khao mun ghai (poached chicken and broth with garlic rice), a braised pork shank, and steamed buns with braised beef cheek. The offerings are reminiscent of the carryout-friendly dishes the couple did at the Columbia City Farmers Market this summer—with the significant addition of refrigeration, and a bit more protection from wind and rain. Keep an eye on Little Uncle’s website for more details.