Halal in the Heights

Boston-based halal restaurant serves up new rice platter pop-up in The Heights

Boston-based halal restaurant serves up Heights rice platter pop-up

Chicken and Rice Guys platter
Rice platters are coming to the Heights. Courtesy of NextSeed

A popular Boston restaurant is headed to The Heights. The Chicken and Rice Guys, a restaurant that serves rice platters topped with halal chicken, lamb and beef gyro, and tofu, will be the first tenant at a new pop-up space developed by the NextSeed crowd-funding platform.

Similar to the NextSeed space in Greenway Plaza, the pop-up restaurant will provide fast casual restaurants like The Chicken and Rice Guys with the opportunity to test the market before committing to a long-term lease. In this case, the restaurant will occupy the space at 2723 Yale St. for six months starting in mid-July.

The Chicken and Rice Guys had their eyes on Houston for awhile, according to NextSeed. When co-founder Ian So met NextSeed CEO Youngro Lee at a conference, they quickly realized they could work together.

"We couldn’t be more excited to join the incredible food scene here in Houston," So said in a statement, "As a small but growing team, entering a new market is a big endeavor. NextSeed Space is allowing us to test a new market with much lower risk to our business."

Inspired by the halal food carts they encountered during a visit to New York City, So and co-founders Jenny Giang and Kevin Lau have grown The Chicken and Rice Guys from a single food truck to three restaurants and four food trucks that operate throughout the Boston area. The various combinations are affordable (typically under $10, including a drink) and well-prepared, which has made the restaurant a hit since it opened in 2012.

"The food is surprisingly good," Sheryl Julian wrote for the Boston Globe in 2016. "You get moist chicken that comes in small bits. ... Lamb has been shaved off gyro-style and has nice crusty bits. The pita is warm and delicious."

NextSeed already operates a pop-up space in Greenway Plaza that has been home to successful runs by The Waffle Bus, Mexican restaurant Tlahuac, and ice cream vendor The DoughCone. While that's set up for counter service in a food court, the property on Yale Street allows restaurant operators to experiment with a more full-fledged restaurant. According to NextSeed CMO Abe Chu, the company will use the Chicken and Rice Guys' experience to determine what kind of restaurant should occupy the space in the future.