Thursday, May 8, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: SUNDA name of new Rockit Ranch restaurant

Brad Young (from left), Billy Dec and Arturo Gomez of Rockit Ranch Productions (Photo: Rockit Ranch Productions)

WE FINALLY got a name for that long-awaited project from Rockit Ranch Productions. Billy Dec and crew are calling it SUNDA—named after Southeast Asia’s Sunda Shelf.

Says Dec about the name: "It wasn’t until I landed in Singapore that I had the good fortune to visit the landmark Asian Civilizations Museum where I came across a potential name enlightened and excited me! Upon explaining that I needed to find a name for our multi-cultured all inclusive New Asian concept to one of the curators at the museum, she pointed me directly to an exhibit featuring The Sunda Shelf... And said, 'Sunda' is your name."

Before the team settled on SUNDA, they sought out the help of one of the world's renowned experts in Asian culture, who happened to be Dr. Anne Underhill (Ph.D., Anthropology), the department chair at the Field Museum. She specializes in the development on complex societies in China, and Dec says she "was nice enough to spend some time talking this out with me and even doing some extra research to make sure this name was right for us."

Her feedback included this excerpt: "I needed to check some of my archaeology books that I had not looked at in a while (I do archaeology in China for later time periods). I agree, you do have an appropriate name for your restaurant. The best book I have is by the well-known archaeologist from Australia named Peter Bellwood (Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago, 1985)... according to Bellwood, your name is very suitable...Your restaurant sounds wonderful—we need more good quality Asian restaurants in Chicago! I will be one of your customers.”

Located in River North near its siblings Rockit Bar & Grill (22 W. Hubbard St., 312-645-6000) and Underground (56 W. Illinois St., 312-644-7600), the sprawling SUNDA expects to open in September. Premier Asian cuisine chef Rodelio Aglibot is the man behind the menu.

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