Happiness, excitement, smiles and super delicious food inspired by flavors from all over the world. That’s what you can expect from Bao Boi’s steam bun sandwiches and global-inspired street food, coming soon to The Warehouse Food Hall.
Founder and Chef Frank Jordan got his start in the restaurant biz 25 years ago washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant. His culinary journey brought him to Spain and then back to his roots in Boise, where Bao Boi was born.
Prior to the food hall’s opening, Jordan took his steam buns, gyoza, street corn, curry and other menu options all over the Boise area through pop-ups, until he officially set up shop inside the food hall.
Bao Boi combines several genres of food and serves it up in a fast, casual way that’s sure to make your tastebuds sing bao chicka bao bao!
We caught up with Chef Jordan to talk more about Bao Boi and The Warehouse Food Hall.
How did you get started?
I got started 25 years ago washing dishes in Chinatown so I could learn to make sweet and sour chicken for my family because we liked it and so I thought it would be cool to be able to make it for them. Yeah, kind of odd, a 14-year-old white kid washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant in the early 90’s.
What would you say is unique about your business?
What's unique about Bao Boi and the chef's counter is that it's a dual concept serving two completely different genres in food. There are very few places across the globe that are doing something similar. A fast casual concept glued together with Michelin Star quality food served on mostly disposables.
At The Warehouse, it’s going to be all about “Experience” and “Adventure” What do those two words mean to you? What does the word “Food Hall” mean to you?
The Food Hall is a place of freedom. The freedom to choose, the freedom to be who you want to be. It's terrible being that one person in the group that doesn't like sushi or is a vegetarian, but all your friends want to eat BBQ. So, if you want to hang out with your friends you kind of have to not be yourself to be their friend because of choice. At the Warehouse Food Hall, be who you want to be, choose what you want to choose, live how you want to live. Never Compromise, eat what your heart desires. There is something for everyone at The Warehouse.
Have you ever visited a Food Hall? If yes, what’s been your favorite food hall?
I have been to tons and tons of Food Halls. They are all over Europe in most city centers and have huge extravagant markets/food halls. One of my favorites hands down is La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain. It would be cool to open a Lil Boqueria concept in The Warehouse. I have also been to several in the Bay Area and LA. Central Market in Downtown.
What got you interested in The Warehouse?
I got interested in The Warehouse because I had lost my restaurant in Spain and came back to Boise because I literally lost it all. My parents were awesome enough to give me a place to stay while I got back on my feet. I noticed something odd about this town, there is no consistent place to get a good bite to eat in downtown. In my opinion, it's all hit and miss. That got me interested in doing something in Boise. I heard about the Warehouse, and I have been working on this project for the last year doing market research through pop-ups and here we are!
Is there a particular vendor you are most excited about seeing at The Warehouse or partnering with?
I am excited for everyone. All the dreams and all the teams that made this happen. Without everyone there would be no one. It takes a community of like minded people to build a community. I will try to collaborate with anyone who wants and where it makes sense. How cool would Bao Boi Japanese Fried Chicken X Waffle Love chicken and waffles be? I also want to partner with the bars and collaborate on making specialty drinks from the vendors. That would be cool if the Loading Dock or whatever the concept bar is, make a cocktail that best describes each vendor in a drink. That way each vendor has a specialty cocktail for the guest to enjoy.
In one word how would you describe The Warehouse Food Hall?