As found on the Fat Rice website, “Fat Rice aka Arroz Gordo” is the celebratory dish of Macau. Reminiscent of paella, Arroz Gordo is a bountiful, home-style, layered rice dish usually served to family and friends on special occasions. Fat Rice’s version has jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo & salted duck. It is then topped with curried thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, prawns, steamed clams, tea eggs, chicken-fat-fried croutons, olives & pickled chilies, and is served with a mushroom soy and Diabo hot sauce.
But Fat Rice, nestled on the outskirts of Logan Square (2957 W Diversey Ave) is more than just the signature dish. It’s an homage to an evolving culture that once married South Chinese and Portuguese influences into an incredible fusion of flavors.
From learning traditional Chinese dumpling recipes from her grandparents while growing up in Lincoln Park, to exploring India’s culture an cuisine in college, food has always been a cornerstone of family and friends for Fat Rice co-owner, Adrienne Lo.
After a transformative journey to India and more importantly, Sri Lanka, Adrienne found herself looking for her next adventure while holding a job at Whole Foods back in Chicago. There, a friendship with Abraham Conlon, led to starting an underground supper club, X-Marx, which ended up gaining a cult following.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows running the supper club, and eventually, the city got wind of the operation, putting a kibosh on the gig. There, left with the decision of what to do next, the two partners decided to take things legit. A serendipitous chain of events led to finding the right location and a cuisine that is reflective of both Abraham and Adrienne’s ethnicity.
Two expansions and a cookbook later, Fat Rice remains at the top of the “must try” places of Chicago, and continues to add to their offerings to keep things fresh. We got the opportunity to sit down with Adrienne and sink our teeth into the story behind the restaurant. Enjoy!