Gaining a loyal following in the Bay Area for its flavorful khao mun gai (Thai-style poached chicken served over fragrant rice cooked in chicken broth), Rooster and Rice has opened 10 locations since it first arrived on the scene in San Francisco’s Marina District in 2015. On Friday, Nov. 17, the fast-casual restaurant will open its first  Southern California location in Irvine.

In addition to khao mun gai, a dish found available in street carts throughout Thailand, Rooster and Rice now offers khao tom gai (chicken rice porridge), fried chicken cutlets, fried chicken skins, Thai coffee and more. The restaurant’s signature Mother Sauce, created by and christened after chef/co-founder Tommy Charoen’s mother, provides the perfect punch of spice to accompany the savory signature dish.

The burgeoning chicken-rice empire was created by Charoen and restaurateur Bryan Lew, who joined forces in 2017 with another Bay Area Thai-style chicken-and-rice purveyor, Chick’n Rice, founded by the creators of delivery service Caviar. Rooster and Rice’s move to SoCal comes on the heels of the recently announced opening of Thai Town Cuisine, in Los Angeles, another similar, albeit larger, chain focused on fast-casual Thai food.

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“Most restaurant brands grow because they have an explosively popular offering or an air-tight operational model that makes them easy and inexpensive to scale. Rooster and Rice is one of very few brands that has both,” said Lew in a written statement, adding that the combination has “allowed us to grow rapidly throughout the Bay Area, and we’re finding increasing demand from neighboring markets.”

Rooster and Rice’s Irvine locale will have its grand opening to the public on Friday Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The first 50 guests will receive one free bowl and the second 50 guests will receive one bowl at 50 percent off.

Find it: 15354 Alton Parkway (at Ada Road), Irvine