There’s a new restaurant incubator opening in Austin this month, and its first pop-up will be from shuttered Filipino Vietnamese food truck Fil N’ Viet. East Meets Wings will open within the new Playground ATX at 5001 Airport Boulevard in the North Loop neighborhood starting on Wednesday, November 15.
East Meets West, from co-owners and co-chefs Kevin Truong and Rosie Mina-Truong , will focus on chicken wings with pan-Asian flavors. This means whole chicken wings in flavors like the Indonesian ayam goreng (a sweet and sticky chile soy sauce), the Indian butter masala (a sauce with garam masala, fenugreek leaves, and cashews), Thai tamarind Thai basil (tamarind glaze with fish sauce and chiles), and the Sichuan mala (with a chile oil and green Sichuan peppercorns). It’ll also serve Fil N’ Viet’s popular Filipino sinigang chicken wings and Vietnamese VFC chicken wings. There will be a fried chicken sandwich, boneless chicken thighs and vegetarian crispy rice cakes in mostly the same flavors, plus rice, cabbage slaw, sauces, and drinks (including its Vietnamese iced coffee). For desserts, there will be the Filipino halo-halo and soft serve sundaes.
Behind Playground ATX is the newly formed hospitality company Tykhe Group, led by co-owners and sisters Sue Kim-Drohomyrecky and Katie Kim. The idea behind Playground is that it’ll host guest chefs and restaurants for half-year stints, as a way to work on ideas and implementations for fuller restaurants on their own.
Tykhe Group will work as the executive-level managers for the pop-up restaurants in Playground, helping them with management, branding, etc. It’ll get 20 percent of the profits as well as a salary. At the end of each stint, the company will decide whether or not the restaurant can work as a stand-alone, and, if so, it’ll go into a partnership with the business, help them get funding, and find a location. The restaurant owners/chefs will get equity.
Before Tykhe, Kim-Drohomyrecky was involved with Chicago-based group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, where she helped open a bunch of restaurants, plus was a key partner in the expansion of its Mediterranean restaurant Aba into Austin in September 2020. She was also involved in opening New American restaurant Spring (which closed in 2010). Kim, who will oversee Playground restaurants’ developments, runs the Kim Group, where she helped businesses.
Outside of the rotating restaurants, Playground will host food and drink events, other pop-ups, dinners, and fundraisers. There are also plans to offer vegan holiday takeout meals. People can apply for future Playground restaurant residencies through its website; Tykhe is also looking for interested investors.
Truong and Mina-Truong opened Fil n’ Viet in March 2021, serving a mesh of Filipino and Vietnamese foods per their backgrounds. That led to dishes like (it’s probably safe to expect these on East Meets Wings’s menu) as well as crispy adobo rice bowls and sweets.
Playground’s Airport Boulevard space had been Bun Belly Vietnamese restaurant (which moved to the Highland neighborhood in April 2022), and, before that, Your Mom’s Burger Bar. The address was supposed to become an event space-slash-daytime restaurant from next-door cafe Delicious AF (which took over the original Tamale House), but that didn’t pan out.
Playground’s hours will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and then from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. East Meets West will be open through April 2024.