Opening today: Belly Shack
Belly Shack—the follow-up to Bill Kim and Yvonne Cadiz-Kim's Urban Belly—opens in the former Vella Cafe space under the Western Blue Line stop (1912 N Western Ave) at noon today, and if it were just a little closer to TOC's office, I'd probably be the first one there. I just got off the phone with Belly Shack's manager, and from what I can tell the new spot is a little like an Asian/Latino XOCO (if Rick Bayless were into skater culture). Like XOCO, the menu consists only of soups (today's is a hot-and-sour soup with hominey, chicken and cilantro—kind of an Asian-style pozole, I guess); sandwiches (Asian meatballs with rice noodles and mint on an Iranian flatbread called samoon); and sides (roasted squash with maple syrup and pho spices; tostones with chimichurri). While there are no churros available, there are the makings of a cult-worthy dessert: soft serve with toppings such as Vietnamese cinnamon caramel, huckleberry-lime sauce and Mindy Segal's bacon-chocolate chips.