Divisive Texas chef Paul Qui plans to open East Side King, his Japanese street food restaurant, inside food hall Avanti Food & Beverage in May.
The restaurant takes over American Grind’s space on the first level. The hamburger and sandwich restaurant that opened in 2017 moves in a brick-and-mortar location at 431 E. Bayaud Ave. in Wash Park later this spring.
Qui’s past three years proved to be a roller coaster ride for the Austin-based chef. In March 2016, he was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend in front of her child. Last April, those assault charges were dismissed.
Qui rose to fame in 2011 after winning the ninth season of reality TV cooking show Top Chef. He worked as the executive chef at Uchiko, a sister restaurant to Uchi, before opening East Side King in 2012 with its menu of chicken karaage, steam buns, and meshi, a rice dish. Qui won a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chefs in America in 2012 and was a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2011.
In Denver, East Side King plans to offer menu staples in the $11 and under range, as well as a happy hour and brunch specials in the weekend.
East Side King will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant joins BorraCho Tacos, Brava!, Bistro Georgette, The Rotary, Quiero Arepas, and QuickFish Poke.
As for Qui, he opened fast-casual taco spot Tacqui in Dallas in 2018, then promptly closed it less than six months later. Aqui suffered the same fate in Houston, closing in December after a year-plus run. He closed Kuneho, the Japanese and sushi restaurant that he opened with his Top Chef winnings in June 2013 after a four-year run. He also has Thai Kun in Austin and two East Side King locations in Austin.