The Cheesecake Factory Opens New Fast-Casual Asian Concept Restaurant

Published 02-26-2019

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The Cheesecake Factory's parent company has launched a new fast-casual concept that will attempt to express the flavors of several Asian countries just a few miles outside of Los Angeles County. It's called Social Monk, and its first location has opened in the upscale, mainly white suburb of Westlake Village, California - where the popular TV show "The Bachelor" is filmed.

The Best Chinese Restaurant in Every State

According to Social Monk - which is operated by the parent company for The Cheesecake Factory, not by the actual Cheesecake Factory itself - the new restaurant's menu includes dishes and influences from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and China.

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A post shared by Social Monk (@socialmonk) on Feb 23, 2019 at 11:22am PST

Unlike The Cheesecake Factory or the company's other Asian-influenced restaurant, RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen, Social Monk is a fast-casual concept, and diners will place their orders at the restaurant counter and choose their own seating after. Overall, the theme sounds much more focused than the flagship chain - at least according to this savage take-down of The Cheesecake Factory's design aesthetic.

The new restaurant's Asia-spanning menu features made-to-order dishes such as spicy Thai chicken wings, vegetable spring rolls, salads, banh mi and fried chicken sandwiches, rice and noodle bowls, orange chicken, Thai curry, desserts and a children's menu with smaller portions. The casual concept also serves beer and wine.

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A post shared by Social Monk (@socialmonk) on Feb 21, 2019 at 10:08am PST

A similar Asian-inspired concept called Lucky Cricket was launched by chef and TV personality Andrew Zimmern in Minneapolis in 2018. It recieved terrible reviews for its mishandling of the Chinese-American menu and flavorless food, earning particular criticism for professing a mission to bring "real" Chinese food to the Midwest. Later, Zimmern apologized for his appropriation comments. The fiasco indicates that American-Chinese endeavors can be dicey in terms of public relations.

There is currently only one Social Monk restaurant, but if the brand grows, it seems like it has all the makings to be one of America's best new fast-casual chains.

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