Xiao Bao, sister concept to Xiao Bao Biscuit in Charleston, opens Monday in Optimist Hall.
Zoom out: Xiao Bao Biscuit (XBB) — owned by chef Joshua Walker and Duolan Walker-Li — opened in downtown Charleston in 2012 and quickly became a favorite in Charleston’s food scene. XBB was even named one of Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants in 2013.
For husband-and-wife duo, Joshua and Duolan, expanding to Charlotte felt like the right next step. After visiting several times to get a feel for the city pre-coronavirus, “We could tell it was an exciting time for the city,” Joshua tells Axios Charlotte. “There was a lot happening and people seemed really engaged in the food scene.”
Menu: Xiao Bao will offer the same favorites you’d find at XBB like the okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese cabbage pancake, which Joshua says is the most popular dish in Charleston.
Okonomiyaki is also a “great gateway,” he says. “People that you could say are maybe not as adventurous as eaters have tried that and then gone on to try other dishes they might not have tried right away.”
Xiao Bao’s menu will primarily focus on Southeast Asian cuisine, including dishes like pad kra pow (Thai basil chicken stir fry) and som tum (papaya salad). There will also be fried rice, a variety of curries, and other dishes on its rotating menu.
Details: Xiao Bao is Optimist Hall’s 24th tenant and will be located in the stall next to Collier Candy. It will soft open on Saturday, close Sunday, and officially open on Monday.
This is one of the many anticipated openings happing in 2021. Catch up on the latest: The 20 most anticipated new restaurants and bars in 2021.