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Ricewood serves up barbecue favorites, new items at brick-and-mortar in Ann Arbor

'Our barbecue is better than ever.'

The menu at Ricewood's brick and mortar. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich – Having opened in its new location May 30, Ricewood has officially transitioned from food truck to brick-and-mortar barbecue joint.

Nestled into specialty grocer Morgan and York, which will be undergoing its own changes, Ricewood offers Ann Arborites its usual barbecue favorites and a few new items.

Along with a larger menu, which may expand further, according to Ricewood owner and chef Frank Fejeran, the larger space allows the Ricewood team to serve a growing lunch crowd.

Having a solid location also means that Ricewood’s Texas-styled barbecue can be rested for 12 hours, something that Fejeran said makes it even better than when Ricewood was a food truck.

“Our barbecue is better than ever. All our food is better than it ever has been. And we can do more.”

Fejeran said that since moving inside, they’ve been able to amp up their sesame cucumber salad, make their own kimchi and add two sandwiches (a third will be added soon). The next step is to open up for dinner guests two or three nights a week, which it will try once Morgan and York opens its full bar.

But making good barbecue takes time. Fejeran said that the Ricewood team rotates throughout the day, with the first person coming into the building early in the morning (think 3 a.m.-ish) and the last person leaving at 7 p.m.

“We like to work. Every single person here likes to work. We enjoy working. It’s a fun environment, though. I think we have a good culture here,” Fejeran said. “I mean, it’s a small culture, but it’s a good culture.”

Ricewood consists of Fejeran, his brother and barbecue pitmaster, Gabe Golub, and their friend and Ricewood customer-turned-co-worker, Bill Richard.  

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Fejeran also said that since moving into the brick-and-mortar location, they’ve seen more new faces (some of whom have been converted into regulars) along with their lunch crowd regulars.  

“So, it’s been quick [since the May 30 opening], but it's an uptick in everything. It’s just a better feel, I think our food is better. I think the amount of options (is better). Like now, we do a really good veggie bowl.

“Before, we only had our cucumbers and whatever, but now we have our house-made kimchi and our sesame-cucs, and our Asian slaw goes on the veggie bowl. It’s pretty good." 

Fejeran joked that between catering events and graduations, as well as tending to the new Ricewood location, the team has been really busy but that he hopes things don’t slow down. In fact, the new kitchen space at Morgan and York allows them to add more catering options (so the Ricewood team definitely won’t be slowing down).

He said that they are also looking to add to their team and as soon as they find the right people, Fejeran would like to see Ricewood open regularly Friday and Saturday nights for dinner.

As a food truck, Ricewood would regularly sell out, and that’s not changed since moving into its new location. Fejeran said that the barbecue joint has sold about twice a week, sometimes three times. since the brick-and-mortar opening. So get there at 11 a.m, when it opens! 

For regular updates and photos, check out Ricewood’s hilarious Instagram and social media accounts before trekking over to 1928 Packard St.

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