Doc Cheys Dragon Bowl- Something New is Coming to Atlanta

I recently had the privilege of talking with Chef and entrepreneur Rich Chey, the man behind the concept of Doc Chey's and the other Home Grown Restaurants concepts. This food master and creator of all things decadent and delightful has recently announced the opening of his latest concept. Coming late this summer, Doc Chey's Dragon Bowl will "Keep it Simple. Keep it Fresh. Keep it Real." Meaning, ingredients will be fresh, local and seasonal. Everything from the drinks to the dishes will benefit the guest and the environment. I couldn't wait to pick Chek Rich's brain to find out more about this creative concept. Can you tell me where your motivation to create such unique and healthy dishes comes from? "I was raised by immigrants and was brought up to respect cultures. My Korean and Chinese parents educated me on our culture through the food we ate. I spent time in the kitchen cooking, and actually most of our family time was spent around the dinner table." You say food helped you really learn more about your culture. How so? Well, every Sunday was spent socializing with other Asians in our community.

Chinese Dim Sum is small Asian finger foods, basically brought out in carts where you can grab what you want. It was a great way to see how people in my culture dined and it is when I grew a real love for food. Think of it as the Asian equivalent of a Sunday brunch. " So you always knew you wanted to be a chef to some degree? "Actually, well no. I obtained my biology degree because I thought that was what I wanted to do. My dad and brother are both doctors, my mom is a nurse and my sister is in alternative medicine. I just assumed I would be like them, but later found out I didn't care for it." When did you realize you wanted something more and/or different? "I went head first into the working world, eventually got my MBA and worked in a medium size company. It was then I realized I didn't want to work for someone else. I moved to Atlanta and bought and ran a few small businesses for a couple years. After that, I sort of "fell" into the food business. My genesis for opening my first restaurant was to fill a need for Atlanta and that is when I came up with my bagel business." "It was the late 1990's and the bagel boom was taking the U.S. by storm. Bagels had just started getting popular and NY style bagels were the big thing.

I had no experience in the food business as an owner, only as a consumer. I knew I needed to do this the right way so I asked around and was directed to Ron Goldberg. I was told he was the best guy to talk to and learn from." "The next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Vermont and Ron taught me the ins and outs of the bagel industry. I spent six months with him and he literally taught me every little detail regarding the bagel and restaurant industry. At first I was critical, but then everything made sense and fell into place. Highland Bagel was opened in 1995." What happened after Highland Bagel? "A lot happened after that. Ramen houses are huge in Japan - almost like waffle houses in the USA - quick and affordable meals.

I opened Doc Chey's because I knew there was no where else in Atlanta where you could get a bowl of noodles at reasonable price. So, I decided to open four of them. In 2003, I opened Osteria 832 , a pizza and past place in Virginia Highlands and later this summer, Dragon Bowl will be ready." Can you tell me more about the Dragon Bowl concept? "The Doc Chey's at the Emory Village location will close to make way for a concept that will focus on Asian-inspired bowls, piled high with a variety of fresh and seasonal ingredients, known as Doc Chey's Dragon Bowl . Think of it as sustainability on all levels, from food to hiring. It will be an Asian cuisine, still more of a bowl concept, with only 6-7 items on the menu so as to emphasize execution and consistency. I will still follow the same motto for my other restaurants: affordability, flavor, freshness and family friendly.