HaiDiLao, a mega-popular chain of hot pot restaurants based in China's Sichuan province, will bring its bubbling broths, sauce bar, and noodle dance to Pacific Place this fall. It's the first of what's likely to be a slate of restaurant announcements as the downtown shopping center steams along with its sizable redevelopment.
This will be the first U.S. HaiDiLao location outside California. The restaurant's setup lets you choose from a variety of broth bases, vessels set flush into small holes in your table to await a vast array of beef, pork, vegetables, lamb, even abalone. A self-serve bar of attendant dipping sauces lets you calibrate your exact savory-spicy preference.
And then there are the noodle dancers—a sort of culinary entertainer who performs a variety of dance moves while stretching and expanding a skein of noodle to drop in your hot pot. Jonathan Gold's assessment of the HaiDiLao in Arcadia paints a picture of blaring Chinese pop, attentive customer service, and handy little plastic bags dispensed so your cell phone doesn't get splashed with broth while you eat.
If you've been to Pacific Place of late, you've likely noticed it's a massive construction zone, as the shopping center gears itself toward the realities of 2019 retail. These days, "Shopping centers are a lot more about entertainment and food," in addition to buying stuff, says Daniel Meyers of Madison Marquette, the company that owns Pacific Place. HaiDiLao fit their redevelopment plans, he says, because it has international appeal, but also—it's experiential. "You hear that term used a lot in the retail world," he allows, but tabletop pots of broth and dudes dancing while they stretch your noodles is something you just can't order online.
When HaiDiLao opens, hopefully in the fall, you'll find it on the third floor, near the Nordstrom skybridge. When the redevelopment is complete, says Meyers, "we're planning on having more food," spread across the mall rather than just clustered on the top floor. More restaurant announcements are forthcoming, he says, but in the meantime keep tabs on HaiDiLao's U.S. Facebook page, plus Pacific Place's Instagram.