Hot chicken, Filipino fusion, more coming to northside Uptown Commons development

Last year was the Ramenlution, this year, the Chickageddon as Nashville hot chicken, moving beyond its staples in Los Angeles, begins to invade Long Beach with more and more options. We have Jay Bird’s at Long Beach Exchange, then Fire Bird over on the east side, a Cluck’n’Blaze that claims to have a brick-and-mortar to come in August across the street from Jay Bird’s and now, Main Chick coming to North Long Beach.

The Uptown Commons, one of three major North Long Beach developments that also includes the similarly named Uptown and Shaheen Sadeghi’s ambitious Canvas project, will be taking over an empty, two-acre lot at 6600 Atlantic Ave. and bring with it the aforementioned Main Chick as well as another ramen joint and a Filipino fusion restaurant.

Main Chick, which has had a consistent presence in the K-Town Night Market in Los Angeles and the O.C. Night Market joins the ever-growing list of Howlin’ Rays/Hotville wannabes presently permeating the southland. Offering the usual array of Nashville hot chicken paired with pickles and crinkle-cut fries with comeback sauce, Main Chick has begun to build a steady following for those who either can’t stand the wait at Howlin’ or miss Kim Prince’s various Hotville popups.

After years of being nonexistent within the walls of Long Beach, our city is now saturated with ramen. Bixby Knolls has three ramen joints alone (along with others in Downtown and the newest addition on Retro Row). Joining them will be Chino-based Shomi Noods, a ramen bar known for its various takes on Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen.

A rendering of The Uptown Commons development in North Long Beach. Courtesy of Bickel Group Architecture.

A rendering of The Uptown Commons development in North Long Beach. Courtesy of Bickel Group Architecture.

Perhaps the biggest stand-out in the announcement, however, is Los Angeles-based chain Oi Asian Fusion, which has garnered a mini-cult-like following thanks to its Filipino-inspired creative bowls—adobo pork and tapsilog sit alongside umami gravy and pork belly options—and sides—their Dynamite Fries, sweet potato fries slathered in a spicy mayo and topped with cilantro, have garnered their own fanbase as have their pork belly jicama tacos.

The growth of Filipino food, including the much-anticipated opening of Chef AC Boral’s brick-and-mortar on Fourth Street, is one that is a welcomed addition to Long Beach. Though the West and North neighborhoods of our city have long been filled with Filipino families and staples like Gemae and Edna’s fulfill the culinary wants of those communities, Filipino food has yet to break out beyond the walls of these niche communities. That makes both Oi and Boral’s concepts—two totally different places on the Filipino cuisine spectrum—much welcomed additions to the Long Beach food scene.

The design of Uptown Commons, headed by Newport Beach-based firm Bickel Group Architecture, is simple and straightforward—lots of brick and wood are met with dark metals, atriums, green spaces, and patios, as the space will host two additional restaurants and offer the neighborhood of District 9 its first full-service bank.

Yup, Long Beach’s northern-most district runs so low on basic amenities such as banks and food-centric spaces that, a fact that 9th District Councilmember and overall North Long Beach development cheerleader Rex Richardson said came up when listening to what his constituents needed and wanted.

“We’re creating a new Main Street,” Richardson told the Post last year. “These projects are kicking off the excitement and Atlantic Avenue returns to its roots as being the epicenter of neighborhood socializing—and on top of that, we get basic amenities that have been long called for by the community.”

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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