Although her "inauthentic Asian" menu at Smallwares seems plenty experimental, chef Johanna Ware is simply not content within its confines, so she's branching out into more playful lunchtime territory with Lil' Wares, a temporary restaurant that will launch in late May and last through at least the end of summer.
She'll be taking over the old Red Fig café and its 30-seat patio just across the street from Smallwares/Barwares, where she'll use the space as her own personal popup for experimenting with laid-back lunch and happy hour options, and one-off events like an all-offal dinner.
"Lil' Wares is a place for me to spread my wings a bit and have some fun," says Ware in a press release. "I want to show people more of the food I like to cook and see how far I can push myself. It will be a fun, laid back summertime place — like a really great barbecue with killer food, drinks and music, but all done in my style."
Expect an emphasis on grilled dishes, plus fun stuff like General Tso's sandwiches, and the Smallwares cob salad with kimchi Thousand Island dressing. The Smallwares kids menu will also be available. Drinks will include boozy lassis and slushies, and a daily wine spritzer.
Lil' Wares (opening late May): 4537 NE Fremont St. Hours will be 11 a.m.-5pm, Monday-Friday, plus private parties and events.