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First look: Kedai Makan set to counter Capitol Hill bar crawl cravings

Khoo, Burzell and Wilson (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

If you show up hungry Wednesday night at Capitol Hill’s Montana, we can’t say what variety of bar food will come your way. Thursday, it just might be Malaysian. But, you know how new things go. 

You may have to wait a few more nights before your first buzz-settling meal by new E Olive Way chow provider, Kedai Makan but the tiny restaurant operation replacing dearly departed Tacos Gringos is mostly ready to rock and roll.

When it hits its stride, the counter will be serving up dishes honed and perfected for on-the-go deliciousness at the Broadway Farmers Market from nasi lemak to black pepper clams to cucur badak. Bring your smartphone. There’s some Googling — or Binging — to be done as you explore the straits of Malaysia by way of Billings.

The Kedai Makan-Montana hook-up is a deep symbiosis. The expanding E Olive Way bar’s de facto kitchen, tiny Kedai Makan will keep the bar’s hours and serve every day starting at 4 PM. Most days, the burners will be turned off around midnight but expect weekend hours to go as late along with your tummy’s beery rumblings. There will be times when you arrive to find things dark and shuttered and you will still be hungry. This is the risk of exploration on the western cliffs of Party Mountain. City Market is a few blocks away. May god be with you.

Kedai Makan is the creation of former Ba Bar, Monsoon and Poppy chef Kevin Burzell and fiancee Alysson Wilson. Here’s their “official” announcement on Thursday’s planned opening:

Kedai Makan will start serving hawker food out of its new space on 510 E. Olive Way this Thursday, January 24 at 4pm to 2:30am. Its regular hours will be 4pm to midnight, Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, and 4pm to 2:30am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Kedai Makan will be closed on Tuesdays.

The menu includes Kedai’s signature Nasi Goreng, served with tofu and sprouts or roast pork and topped with a runny egg, Ngow Lam Fan, rice noodles with stewed beef, beef balls, peanuts, and pickled mustard greens. Along with its regular menu, Kedai Makan will also offer rotating daily specials off its chalkboard menu. Kedai Makan’s space is not a sit down restaurant. Diners can order at Kedai Makan and enjoy their food at Montana Bar.

The couple has brought in chef-on-the-rise and Malaysian food writer Kathleen Khoo to make the new E Olive Way venture work. Khoo writes about the project here. “According to some recent studies, one in four restaurant close or change ownership in their first year. So it made sense to me to start small. This month, I will invest my passion and time into a small space serving Malaysian takeout food,” she writes.

Burzell says the venture with Montana is a step on the ultimate goal of creating a full Kedai Makan bar and restaurant. In the meantime, if things go well on E Olive Way, watch for the opportunities for Malaysian brunch and maybe even lunch.

Meanwhile, with Crumble & Flake also drawing a crowd but lacking in the seat departments, CHS has an idea for a new E Olive Way start-up idea: Seats: Your Place to Sit Down (TM). Eat and drink space for rent by the minute! We’re assuming Hillside Bar and The Crescent might also be willing to provide a seat.

You can learn more at

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6 thoughts on “First look: Kedai Makan set to counter Capitol Hill bar crawl cravings

  1. This better be good. I have yet to find a good Malaysian place, esp when you were raised there for 23 years. Somehow, the flavors get watered down when it crosses the ocean. Maybe for once I won’t need my mom to send me spices from home. I’ll be knocking at your door when it opens.

  2. Kathleen is one of the most amazing chefs I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing – her Malaysian food is simply out of this world. So authentic and delicious, you just can’t go wrong. Congrats on the new venture!