Joe Knoblich has been blending the flavors and street-food stylings of Mexico, Korea and other Asian and Latin American countries at his food truck, Chuey Fu's, for the past three and a half years. Now he's found a permanent home for his efforts; Chuey Fu's Latin-Asian Grub is open at 1131 Santa Fe Drive, in a space that previously housed Nate's Crown Liquors.
"The truck was a proof of concept," Knoblich says, adding that he'll continue to operate the truck as well as the restaurant, using the new space as his commissary kitchen.
Although only a few days old, Chuey Fu's already has the feel of a neighborhood cantina, with wall art inspired by Mexico's Día de los Muertos, handmade furniture created from pipe fittings and bowling-alley wood, and bar shelves salvaged from the now-shuttered Sports Authority at Tenth Avenue and Broadway.
Knoblich says the menu has been expanded from the original food-truck offerings, with a number of proteins — Korean beef, char shu pork or seared ahi tuna, for example — available in tacos, burritos or rice bowls, plus a roster of appetizers, soups and salads ranging from a traditional Mexican aguachile (with shrimp, lime, cucumber, serrano chiles and cilantro) to ramen topped with your choice of meat. Dessert options include churros, mochi balls or a combo of both, listed as "Twigs and Berries" on the menu.
There will also be a separate brunch menu beginning at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, with breakfast tacos and burritos, loco moco, chilaquiles and spiraled churro pancakes.
Knoblich's previous industry experience includes opening Richard Sandoval restaurants in Denver, Aspen and Washington, D.C. Not surprisingly, Chuey Fu's shares a similar theme with many of Sandoval's restaurants, though Knoblich notes that he's very conscious of trying not to emulate his former employer's style, and rather than calling his food "Asian-Mexican fusion," he just considers it "a good marriage of both."
Chuey Fu's is open Monday through Thursday from 10:45 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. (depending on how the neighborhood responds), staying open a little later on Fridays and Saturdays. Knoblich says it's not his intention to create a late-night hangout, but instead he hopes to become a great hangout for dinner and drinks. A daily happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. is currently offering $4 margaritas and sangrias in celebration of the opening.