Want authentic Chinese cuisine with fresh ingredients? In Little Rock, it’s a no-brainer where to go to get it. In four short years, Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. has cemented its reputation as the go-to spot for delicious dumplings, noodle bowls and steamed buns.
Now, the Little Rock mainstay is embarking on a new culinary journey with two major projects.
The first project will be a pop-up restaurant at Three Fold’s original Center Street location. The pop-up, named Haybird, will highlight fried chicken with a different flavor than most are accustomed to.
According to Three Fold owner Lisa Zhang, the fried chicken featured at Haybird will be lighter than fried chicken as it is typically prepared in America. Haybird will be using boneless chicken meat (both white and dark) to make the fried chicken, and the restaurant will incorporate elements such as pickles and vegetables. There will also be vegetarian options.
“I really think Little Rock should have more variety of chicken cooking,” she said. “This is a different way to enjoy the chicken.”
Zhang expects Haybird to open around the end of May. Her plan is to operate the restaurant for one year and evaluate customers’ reaction to it.
However, the major announcement is Three Fold’s long-term project to create a restaurant and manufacturing facility near Riverdale.
In March, it was reported that Three Fold was planning to open a new restaurant along Rebsamen Park Road. While permits have been filed for the project, Zhang says the project is two or three years away from completion.
The goal is to create a space that will serve as a “window of Eastern culture,” according to Zhang. The space will have an educational component, showing how foods are traditionally preserved in Chinese culture.
The new space will highlight how meats were preserved, how pastries are made, and how various foods are pickled. Zhang says the space will also feature a brewery that will produce a Chinese sake that served as a forerunner to modern day Japanese sake.
Zhang says the restaurant and manufacturing space, which is currently unnamed, is designed to be a “showcase for young generations about how human beings have the wisdom to survive” and preserved their traditions and culture.
This space is part of Zhang’s ongoing efforts to introduce Chinese food and culture to Little Rock, and the new restaurant will be a more “aggressive effort” to expand the boundaries of what is available and eaten in Little Rock.
While the Haybird is expected to open in May, the Riverdale restaurant/manufacturing space is several years away from completion. It is expected to be an 8,000 square foot space that has room for food preservation, pastry preparation, pickling, a restaurant and more.