Two new Asian concepts, both from the Carolinas, are coming to the Square at the corner of MacArthur and Main in Irvine, near the airport.
Twisted Noodles is an import from North Carolina and will be serving Thai food. It's actually not the first Twisted Noodles restaurant to open in OC. In addition to the two locations in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they've also got a SoCal branch in Lake Forest. It is safe to assume the Irvine location will serve the same menu as that one, with pad Thai and such signature dishes as "Volcano Chicken" and roast duck on a sizzling plate.
Here's an interesting bit of trivia: Chapel Hill is a town in Orange County, North Carolina.
Directly across the way at the Square sits Tokyo Grill, which hails from South Carolina, with six locations in and around the city of Columbia. In its westward migration to open this first store here in OC, they dropped the "Y" in lieu of an "I," becoming "Tokio Grill."
The owner tells me he hopes to open sometime in January and will serve hibachi-cooked proteins (steak, chicken, shrimp, etc.) served with fried rice and veggies. I was able to obtain a PDF copy of the menu (below).
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Two cases hardly constitutes a trend, but I'll make the observation anyway: If our Mexican chains come from Utah and our Asian ones from the Carolinas, then where will the inevitable Italian ones come from?