David Chang’s Fuku Chain Eyes Expansion: Could Boston Be Next?
When David Chang opened the first location of Momofuku in New York’s East Village in 2004, the noodle bar craze wasn’t just a pipe dream in the minds of whispering gourmands salivating over the idea of paying upwards of $180 for a bowl of gold flecked ramen, it was non-existent. Noodle bars were confined to the small handful of major cities across the U.S. which could boast of a Chinatown district. They were cheap, lacking in both buzz and pretense, substantial and you knew exactly what you were going to be ordering—or else.
Momofuku changed that. Oxtail ramen? Check. Lobster hozon ramen? Check. Chang transformed not just ramen but the very way Americans think about noodle styles to the point where it doesn’t seem like there’s a single strip mall from Pembroke to Petaluma that cannot lay host to at least one noodle bar bearing the title of authentic.
But you can’t get very far on noodles alone. Chang knew early on the value not only of ramen and steamed buns, but of expansion. Chang’s not just a restaurateur, he’s a brand, and a global brand, alongside Momofuku—one you’ll find in Toronto, Sydney, Vegas and New York.
But not Boston. It took Chang almost fifteen years before he set up shop here with his fast casual fried chicken chain Fuku, which debuted in the Seaport back in October to significant success (if the lines outside the door when I ambled past there earlier in May were anything to go by.)
Alex Muñoz-Suarez, Momofuku Restaurant Group’s CEO, recently stepped down from overseeing the hospitality empire to put his sole focus on the Fuku chain. With an eye on expanding the David Chang empire, Muñoz-Suarez recently told Eater that the development of new concessions is his chief priority. Among the possibilities? Further outposts in the Boston area.
“In my mind I see Fuku as a gateway to all of Momofuku,” Muñoz-Suarez told the blog in an interview. “I think our guests are a much more wider band of representation of America’s population... I envision Fuku being the beginning of the introduction of who Dave Chang is and who Momofuku is.”
Nor is that expansion limited to locations. After the success of a cumin potato patty sandwich at its Hudson Yards location in New York, Muñoz-Suarez anticipates Fuku’s menu to include more diverse vegetarian options.
A suggestion to you, Alex (and by default, you, David Chang?) If it’s competition you want, consider moving your next local outpost to up here in Everett. Not only is Encore Casino opening up shortly, but we have two of the last remaining Crown Fried Chicken spots in the Notheast. Let’s see your $13 habanero chicken thigh sandwich compete with a $4.99 5 piece box of what technically may not be fit for human consumption.
Fuku is located at 43 Northern Ave in Boston and is open daily from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm. For more information, visit eatfuku.com/