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Published July 20th, 2022
New eatery in Moraga goes from pop-up to permanent
Lou's Chicken Shop owners (from left) Kate and Richard Kao Photo Vera Kochan

Lou's Chicken Shop, located at 376 Park St. in Moraga's Rheem Valley Shopping Center, was supposed to be a pop-up restaurant while the owners figured out what type of eatery they'd like to install in the former Noodle Theory location. Thanks to the overwhelming success of Lou's, the decision became clear.
Louis Kao's Noodle Theory Oakland location takes up most of his time, so his brother, Richard with wife, Kate, had taken over Lou's Chicken Shop (pop-up) which opened in mid-May. To go from noodles to chicken was an easy transition. "It's my brother's idea to give it an Asian influence," explained Richard. "When he was running Noodle Theory he added an eight-piece fried chicken item to the menu as a test. It was a hit, so that led to Lou's."
Noodle Theory's Moraga location closed in late April, because much of their staff had to leave for family reasons. However, still on the job at Lou's is their chef, Marco Cruz, who's been with the Kaos for 10 years beginning with Oakland's Noodle Theory. Also still on hand is Sue Shin, who continues to handle the front house details during weekday evenings.
For the time being, Lou's is a take-out/counter-service only establishment with plenty of outdoor seating. The plan is to eventually add indoor dining. The menu offers salads such as Karaage (Japanese-style) Chicken Salad or Garlic Soy Chicken Salad (made with Sriracha aioli over kimchi). Sandwich selections include a Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich (served with a jalapeno cabbage slaw) or a Kalua Pork Sandwich (Hawaiian-style pulled pork). Coming soon is a grilled chicken sandwich item. Sides include sweet potato fries, pickled veggies or tater tots. There also kid plates which are rice-based with a choice of protein and vegetable options. The beverage menu has a substantial variety of beers, wine, sodas, and iced teas.
Lou's hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, and reopening for dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. They are closed Sundays and Mondays. Their website (www.louschickenshop.com) is in progress, but the phone (925-592-0102) is cheerfully answered. Excited to be in their new location Richard replied, "Moraga is such a great area. We're happy to be here."

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