For the past six years, chef Chris Hathcock ran the kitchen at the acclaimed Husk (12 West Oglethorpe Avenue) in Savannah, but he stepped away earlier this year to pursue other projects. He’s been working on an oyster farm with Tybee Oyster Company, doing butchery for Brochu’s (2400 Bull Street), planning an upcoming endeavor with Atlanta chef Sam Herndon, and preparing to premiere a Southeast Asian pop-up at taco trailer Strangebird (1220 Barnard Street).
Starting October 10, Hathcock will take up residency as Odd Gai on Tuesdays and Wednesdays out of the Strangebird kitchen. “The name Odd Gai comes from the Strangebird name,” says Hathcock, “Because ‘gai’ is Thai for ‘chicken,’ but I’m kind of a weird, odd guy also.”
The food is inspired by Hathcock’s travels through Thailand and Southeast Asia. “I spent time in Chiang Mai in the mountains; Phuket on the islands; and Bangkok in the city,” he says. Hathcock compares these experiences to his migration across the Southeastern United States, “My time in Savannah and Charleston is similar to that of Phuket. And then my time in Asheville in the mountains was similar to Chiang Mai. And then my time in Atlanta was similar to Bangkok.”
“I’m doing Southeast Asian cuisine with ingredients from the Southeastern U.S.,” he says, “There will be Lowcountry ingredients, but I’ll also be bringing products down from North Carolina.”
The first menu from Odd Gai offers smoked chicken wings with Thai chili jam; raw oysters with prik nam pla; butternut squash som tom with Georgia pecans; Hat Yai fried chicken; and larb gai. Common Thread (122 E 37th Street) sommelier Libby Burk will select wines to pair with the fare.
“I aim for this to be or something that gets people to come in and have a good time,” says Hathcock, “I want people to eat and drink and experience the bold flavors with lots of heat, acid, and texture.”
The first day of residency for Odd Gai starts on Tuesday, October 10, at 5 p.m.