After developing many properties in the area, Ryan Hurley wants to fill some of these spaces with people food and drink. His first foray into the restaurant business is Saap, a Spanish-Asian fusion restaurant at Grand Central Retail Center in the space formerly occupied by Lapellah.
Fusion cuisine appeals to Hurley, who is president of Hurley Development. He said it leaves room for creativity and allows him to create something that hasn’t already been done.
“We wanted to take a concept that brought culture and life and food together and make it accessible to all ages and all walks of life,” he said. He believes customers expect certain things from a restaurant tied to just one type of cuisine. “Fusion allows a broad open forum,” he said. “You can take certain risks that a specific genre can’t take,” he said.
Saap Fusion Kitchen is just the beginning of Hurley’s move into the restaurant business. He’s interested in opening five more fusion restaurants in Hurley Development properties. To make this happen, he assembled a team — Bobby Rasaphangthong, third generation restaurateur and owner of NOM NOM Restaurant; Keith Belter, general manager formerly at Little Conejo; Chef Kyle Griffith, executive chef with decades of experience most recently at Hey Jack in downtown Camas; and bar director Oula Thepsouvanh, another experienced professional who most recently worked as a bartender at NoMad in Las Vegas.
At Saap, the term Spanish really means Latin and more specifically Mexican. Chips and salsa are served with a lychee salsa that also tops the quesadillas. Street tacos come with an Asian slaw in addition to the traditional pico de gallo. Many menu items, like the Saap bowl with lemongrass rice, veer toward Southeast Asian, which is fitting because Saap translates as “tasty” in Laotian.