Please introduce yourself:
I am Kevin Yu, I am the founder and chef for 2D restaurant.
How long have you and your family lived in the Chicago area?
My wife Vanessa and I moved to Chicago in 2016 trying to fund our very first business, which is Kizuki Ramen that still exists here in Wicker Park. We’ve been around different neighborhoods starting from Lakeview, Streeterville, and now we live in the South Loop.
How has being a part of the AAPI community impacted your career as a restaurateur?
It has been a very interesting journey. I graduated from college and immediately worked in a couple Fortune 500 companies. In the past few years, after marrying Vanessa, we tried really hard, looking for how to represent our Asian heritage better. That’s how we founded the 2D Restaurant– we want to represent not only our life story but also the culture of two different nations. Vanessa was born in Vietnam and I was born and raised in Taiwan. A lot of elements of our heritage and culture are represented in our food and decor, such as our Vietnamese Coffee and Taiwanese-inspired sandwich, along with our favorite– the Japanese inspired mochi donuts. Ultimately, we want to be able to showcase our love for the Asian community and educate Chicago on what the Asian community can offer.
How do you envision your relationship with customers, both those who are a part of the
AAPI community and those who are not?
I think it’s a privilege to be able to represent the AAPI community, especially in Chicago where there is a lower penetration of the AAPI population. For example, a week before, we presented in Chicago Bowls, where we were able to tell our story as immigrants coming to the States from Taiwan and Vietnam and showcase our love for different food and cultures.
What are some future goals you wish to achieve for your restaurant?
We want to continue to bring the joy of 2D Restaurant, not only to Chicago but everywhere in the States. We want to showcase a lot of different Asian food and elements in our restaurant. So far, we have coffee from Vietnam, sandwiches from Taiwan, and donuts from Japan. We want to bring in more elements such as ube from Philippines, Thai elements, and some SIngaporean options. We want to show everything that Asia has to offer, and keep on representing our culture and our culture and educate our community even more of what we can offer as AAPi.
What is your restaurant’s signature dish?
We do a lot of Asian treats.Our best-selling dish is our chicken sandwich, which is using an Asian inspired recipe that I created myself with Vanessa. It is soy ginger garlic, along with a spice-blend buttermilk that uses Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese marinade. We top it off with different sauces we make only in-house that are inspired by Japan, Korea, America, along with different Southeast Asian cultures. Our mochi donuts has won the Top 20 Donuts here in Chicago and has been represented in a lot of collaborations, such as Chicago Bowl, Broadway in Chicago, Pullman Group, Disney and Nickelodeon.
What dish would you recommend to new customers
For a guest who has never been to our restaurant, we would love to offer our Rooster combo, which includes a Vietnamese Coffee that has a robust and chocolatey flavor, along with our mochi donut that we make in house with our home recipe, and finished with a delicious rooster sandwich.