by Kate Knable
Posted 1/14/2013 12:00 am
Updated 11 months ago
The Chi family has a new incarnation of Chi’s Express under way on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock.
Chi’s Express, the family’s mainly takeout and delivery Chinese restaurant, is being remade as Chi’s Fine Chinese Cuisine at the same address, according to owner Lulu Chi. The fine dining restaurant should open later this month, Chi said.
Chi Dim Sum & Bistro on Shackleford Drive has taken on the takeout and delivery orders from Chi’s Express while the latter’s building is renovated. The Chi’s Express building has been closed for construction for about one month.
Chi’s Express had four or five tables and majored on its takeout and delivery business, said Robert Tju. Tju is a partner with members of the Chi family in Little Rock restaurants Sushi Cafe and RJ Tao.
The Chis took over the former Coffee Beanery adjacent to the Chi’s Express space, redid the Chinese restaurant’s kitchen and expanded its seating to accommodate about 100 dine-in guests, Tju said. “It looks like a totally new restaurant,” he said.
Expanding into Coffee Beanery’s space grew the traditional Chinese restaurant from about 1,500 SF to roughly 5,000 SF, Chi said. The restaurant will offer table service and beer and wine, while also maintaining the deliveries and takeout of the past.
The Chenal area’s growth and the fact that “we have a lot of customers over here” spurred the Chis to expand Chi’s Express, Chi said. Chi’s Express saw food sales of $330,079 from January to November 2012