Ann Arbor’s seasonal Chamorro-style barbecue trailer Ricewood is finally going brick-and-mortar this year in a permanent space. Chef Frank Fejeran tells Eater that the restaurant is currently under construction in the back of wine and cheese shop Morgan & York. The new indoor restaurant will allow Ricewood to serve its barbecue rice bowls and barbecue sliders year-round while making way for two new food carts..
Fejeran co-founded Ricewood with brother Gabe Golub back in 2015, parking it beside Morgan & York. The trailer quickly became a popular destination for street food fans, often selling out within 90 minutes of opening. He’s since gone on to open another destination for fried and hot chicken in Ypsilanti called Ma Lou’s.
The indoor Ricewood restaurant will offer plenty of seating and with an identical menu. “We’re going to keep the same exact format [with counter service],” he says. Fejeran anticipates the truck opening in April and transitioning into the new space by mid-month.
Meanwhile, the chef has teamed with some Orange Theory Fitness investors from Michigan and plans to quickly flip the original Ricewood trailer into a clean eating spot called PoCai serving poke bowls, acai smoothie bowls, and options like banana-chia seed toast. That will be parked in the current Ricewood spot outside of Morgan & York serving breakfast and lunch.
If that’s not enough, Fejeran is also keeping busy developing an additional food truck called Kumite (a reference to the freestyle martial arts featured in the Jean-Claude Van Damme film Bloodsport), also slated to open in April. The new truck will offer Pacific Islander-influenced food such as Spam sandwiches and longaniza fried rice as well as “a couple of tacos using the meat from Ricewood.”
Morgan & York is gaining a liquor license, which prompted the expansion of Fejeran’s budding restaurant and cart empire. “They’re going to redo the courtyard to have sort of an outdoor beer garden,” he says.
The new truck will have the ability to move around during the day to different locations and events but will likely park at Morgan & York in the evenings. Stay tuned for more updates.