New Asian Box Restaurant Opens TODAY

Friday, March 02, 2012

I just HAD to share this press release I just recieved!

It features an Asian restaurant that's "fast casual" AND completely gluten free!!!!!!  Can you believe it?  Is your excitement as high as mine?  I know the release is a bit long, but I wanted to include the whole thing because it really captures, and explains the concept behind and how the resaurant works.  Just reading it has made my mouth water!  Enjoy!  And PLEASE, please let us know if you eat there and what you think! :)

Asian Box - 855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Just look at this place...I can't wait to take a trip over to Palo Alto and try it! (Hint...hint hubby! *wink)

PRESS RELEASE: New Asian Box Concept Opens March 2, 2012 in Palo Alto, CA Featuring Gluten-Free Kitchen and Menu

San Francisco Bay Area’s FK Restaurants & Hospitality Opens Fast-casual Asian Box on Friday, March 2, 2012 with Slanted Door Alumna

New Concept Joins ShopHouse and Pei Wei in the Growing Asian Fast-Casual Segment and is the First Completely Gluten-Free Dining Destination of its Kind

San Francisco, CA (March 1, 2012) – Guests will soon know the answer to the question “What’s in Your Box?™” when San Francisco’s FK Restaurants & Hospitality debuts its innovative Asian Box™ concept in Palo Alto, CA, on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.  Inspired by Asian street food carts, Asian Box will showcase traditional cooking methods and recipes made with fresh and local ingredients. Under the direction of Executive Chef Grace Nguyen—formerly of Charles Phan’s acclaimed Slanted Door and Out The Door—Asian Box effortlessly fuses Western locavore cuisine with the colorful, flavorful foods found throughout Southeast Asia. Setting a new bar within the quickly growing fast-casual category of restaurants, Asian Box’s menu and facility are completely gluten-free, fulfilling CEO Frank Klein’s desire to offer guests an authentic dining experience that is fun, exciting, healthy, and quickly dtam sang, or made to order. Klein and his partners will open two additional Asian Box locations in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012.

“I love Asian cuisine but have always found it challenging to find places offering fresh and authentic menus, especially in the fast-casual sector,” Klein says. “Asian Box evolved from the idea of the kind of restaurant I’d want to eat at and introduce to my family and friends.”

Asian Box’s approach is summed up in its playful tagline: “What’s in Your Box?” These four words refer not only to the compostable packaging in which the cuisine is served, but also reference the importance of knowing how the food gets to the plate.  “It doesn’t matter if you are in a fine-dining restaurant or a grab-and-go shop,” Klein says. “More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it’s being prepared.” Asian Box is not only completely gluten-free; it is also a green restaurant using compostable materials and energy efficient practices. “It’s people-healthy and earth-friendly,” says Klein. 

Bringing influences from her Vietnamese heritage to the table, Nguyen has worked with FK Restaurants & Hospitality’s Culinary Director Chad Newton to craft a menu that focuses on flavor and fresh ingredients with fast execution. “Quickly served food remains in high demand, but there has been a shift in diner preferences.  They want food that’s raised responsibly, sourced locally and prepared fresh,” Nguyen notes. Authenticity is also an important aspect for Nguyen, who learned traditional cooking methods and recipes from her Vietnamese grandmother.

Asian Box’s exciting menu offers a variety of tasty options that feature items guests might find at a street cart, while simplifying the ordering process. With menu items starting at $6.95, Asian Box allows guests to create their own “boxes” by selecting from a number of ingredients.  Diners are invited to choose from Asian Vegetable Salad, Rice Noodles with Mushroom Broth, Brown Rice or White Rice and add main events such as Lemongrass Marinated Pork, Garlic and Soy Glazed Beef, and Coconut Curry Tofu, for example. A selection of wok steamed or wok spiced vegetables, crispy shallots, fresh jalapeno, caramel eggs, and more than a dozen additional toppers allow guests to create a box based on their preferences and experience a different combination every time they visit. Housemade sauces include Miss Jones’ Sriracha, Asian Box Tamarind Vinaigrette, and Asian Street Dust™ ($.25), a top secret blend of exotic herbs and spices. The crown jewel of housemade sauces for Asian Box is the HotBoxIt™ sauce ($.75), made from California-grown Asian peppers. Nguyen’s explosive wok blend of peppers, peppercorns, and chili oils, HotBoxIt sauce is not for the timid and is guaranteed to add some fire to the dish. These sauces, along with Asian Street Dust, will be bottled and available in-store, online, and at local retailers.

For guests who want to expand on the traditional boxes, specialty sides include the Shrimp or Tofu Spring Rolls with sweet and sour or peanut dipping sauce ($3.25) and Jungle Jerky ($2.75). Asian Box will also offer a selection of housemade artisanal beverages such as Lemon Lime Marmalade, VC Iced Tea, and Vietnamese Iced Coffee ($2.95). In late 2012, guests will be able to imbibe from a special menu of wines and Asian beers, all of which will be gluten-free.  

Located in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village, Asian Box appeals to a broad demographic of diners from students at nearby Stanford University to corporations and medical centers. “The partners chose Palo Alto as the first location for many reasons,” says Klein. “The interest by Venture Capitalists in the concept showed that we had struck a chord. The fast-casual segment is on fire and we felt that Palo Alto, the birthplace of so many creative concepts and the center for education and technology, was the right environment in which to change the way people think about Asian food in the U.S.”

Designed in partnership with San Francisco’s Rubber Design, Asian Box combines the inviting atmosphere of a neighborhood dining spot with the exciting, visual touches of a food cart in a bustling metropolis. The restaurant’s interior is both fun and energetic while comfortable and welcoming. This balance of elements is also reflected in the materials used in construction and design. The dining area is juxtaposed with recycled steel elements, vintage Asian light fixtures, and pressed bamboo along the counters. Guests can get the feel for eating at a street cart by enjoying Asian Box items at a stand-up communal table or at 25 outdoor seats while listening to the sound of Asian pop music playing in the background. A variety of other cultural elements are utilized throughout the space, including Vietnamese food-related slogans on the walls.

Asian Box in Palo Alto is currently pursuing green restaurant certification from the Green Restaurant Association. For more information, please visit,,, or follow @AsianBox on Twitter.

About Asian Box:
A fast-casual dining destination, Asian Box features authentic Asian street food created with sustainable and local ingredients using traditional methods and recipes under the direction of Executive Chef Grace Nguyen. The first location debuted in the heart of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, CA, at 855 El Camino Real, #21, in Town & Country Village. Asian Box is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and offers extensive catering services for private and corporate events. For more information, please visit or call 650.391.9305.

About FK Restaurants & Hospitality:
Founded by Frank Klein, FK Restaurants & Hospitality is a full-service consultancy specializing in the restaurant, food-service, and hospitality industries. Klein has worked with clients as diverse as Stanford University, The District of Columbia Public Schools, concessionaires in National Park Service properties, as well as with many fast-casual and fine dining entrepreneurs from around the globe. In addition to opening Asian Box, which has plans for expansion in 2012, FK Restaurants & Hospitality is developing a specialty foods division meant to showcase some of the excellent hand-crafted products made by Bay Area chefs. For more information, please visit

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