RESTAURANTS

Chew on This: Willie Ray's Q Shack, Thai Spice planning new locations

Willie Ray Fairley hands a hamburgers and chips to a resident of Hawthorne Hills Apartments as he distributes meals at t
Willie Ray Fairley hands a hamburgers and chips to a resident of Hawthorne Hills Apartments as he distributes meals at the complex in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Fairley has become a community hero by cooking and distributing meals to people in neighborhoods affected by the Aug. 10 storm. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Willie Ray’s Q Shack

Willie Ray Fairley is opening Willie Ray’s Q Shack 2.0, with a new location coming soon not far from the current drive-thru Q Shack. He said on Facebook there is no opening date set yet.

The new location will be at 266 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, which previously was a Milio’s Sandwiches.

Fairley was recently featured on Will Smith’s Snapchat show “Will From Home.” The actor and musician highlighted Fairley’s work handing out thousands of free meals after the derecho devastated Cedar Rapids.

“I just got turned on to your story, and I just want to commend you,” Smith said.

The video featured an appearance from rapper Master P sharing his appreciation, as well as Black Thought from the Roots, who wrote a new jingle for the restaurant.

“Willie is living proof that the universe will reward selfless acts of kindness,” Smith commented.

During the show, Smith also announced he had arranged for a billboard to advertise Fairley’s business and assistance from venture fund founder Arlan Hamilton. Hamilton offered a $25,000 investment plus $25,000 worth of consultation with her investment team.

“Oh man, this is amazing. The blessings; the blessings, blessings, blessings,” Fairley said at the end of the video.

Thai Spice

Iowa City restaurant Thai Spice has announced a new location coming soon to Solon.

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“Surprise, Solon customers!” a Facebook post last week said. “Our new location is coming soon to your town, and we’re bringing our delicious Thai food with us! The Express location will bring fast and convenient (similar to our original menu) choices. Bonus: we have a drive-thru! More details to come, but we are so excited for this new venture! See you soon!”

The restaurant will take over a space that was previously Nomi’s Restaurant, at 101 Windflower Lane.

The original Thai Spice location is at 1210 S. Gilbert St. in Iowa City. The business also includes Thai Spice Noodle House at 725 Mormon Trek Blvd., Iowa City.

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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