From last summer’s Sunshine Noodles pop-up to last winter’s Prey & Tell fried chicken ghost kitchen, chef Diane Lam, formerly of Revelry, is no stranger to openings. And she's got one more up her sleeve: on December 13, Lam is planning to open Sunshine Noodles in Slabtown, her first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“Even though there will be a substantial amount of delivery and takeout, the people that dine there get to have a whole different experience than they were exposed to a year ago at the Sunshine on Mississippi,” says Lam.
Sunshine Noodles will open at XLB’s former Slabtown location (2175 NW Raleigh St #105), where Lam plans to serve her signature contemporary-meets-homestyle Cambodian food—with a particular emphasis on soups and noodles, served on real plates with silverware for the first time. The space will also boast a full bar with infused liquors, draft cocktails, wine, and beer. Though the restaurant won’t open for another month, this Sunday, November 7, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. is a chance to get a sneak preview at the new location, where Lam will offer a menu of charred greens, lime-pepper wings, Phnom Penh noodles, beef noodle stew, stir-fried lort cha noodles, kaya tres leches cake, and persimmon jam s’mores.
Lam first launched Sunshine Noodles in July 2020 at Psychic Bar on N Mississippi for what would be a five-month residency on the bar’s patio. With the help of a cute cartoon tiger mascot, Lam served takes on the Cambodian dishes she grew up with. One mainstay was the kuy teav Phnom Penh, a pork and seafood egg noodle dish that she served with broth on the side; customers also pined after the lort cha, a stir-fried round rice pin noodle dish. Lam also cemented her reputation for fried chicken wings at Sunshine Noodles with crispy, tangy lime-pepper chicken wings. The pop-up was one of our favorites of the year, earning it a spot in our Best Restaurants 2020 feature.
Those chicken wings led Lam to her next concept: Prey & Tell, a ghost kitchen, patio dining, and takeout operation at Psychic Bar that opened in December 2020 serving gluten-free Cambodian fried chicken wings with rice and garnishes, plus homemade buffalo-lime-leaf sauce, Cambodian-French ranch, fish caramel, and lime-pepper sauce for dipping. Prey & Tell will go on hiatus by the end of 2021 as Lam focuses on Sunshine Noodles, though she says she hopes to open a fried chicken brick-and-mortar in the future.
Sunshine Noodles will be open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with lunch hours and extended outdoor seating coming in the future.