Bringing the Costco model to the restaurant industry, Joy Yee Noodles serves industrial-size portions of pan-Asian fare at ridiculously low prices. It's proved a winning combination, as all four locations of the Chicago-area chain are guaranteed to have a minimum 10-minute wait on any night of the week.
Straying from the familiar Joy Yee formula, Joy Yee Noodles Plus in Chinatown offers a smaller menu focusing primarily on Japanese cuisine. Look for soba noodle bowls, yakitori and a slew of sashimi and maki. In keeping with the paired down menu, you can expect a shorter wait to be seated and faster service on the whole.
In addition to the Taiwanese bubble teas and South Asian fresh fruit smoothies, which Joy Yee claims to have introduced to the Midwest, Joy Yee Noodles Plus offers trendy Korean-style frozen yogurt. Honoring the restaurant's ginormous portion heritage, yogurt cups tend to runneth over with loads of toppings. If you're looking for something lighter, try the red bean shaved ice.
Aside from the novelty of a small-menu, wait-free Joy Yee, you'll want to check out the new Noodles Plus for the floor, which has been inlaid with a koi aquarium. You definitely won't find that at Costco.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Amanda Nyren