Nusret Gökçe’s signature moves may have recently drawn the ire of the New York City health department, but it’s also what made him famous—and landed him not only the opportunity to expand his steakhouse empire to NYC and Miami, but a new burger chain that’s set to launch where else but Los Angeles.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock salt mountain, you already know the world’s sexiest butcher-slash-chef-slash-meme climbed to the peaks of viral fame when the Turkish restaurateur posted an Instagram video that’s racked up more than 16 million views since last January, in which he seductively sprinkles salt over the tender meat of our collective hearts (hence the nickname Salt Bae). Or something.
Now, according to the New York Post, he’s heading west and bringing (presumably salted) burgers and expectedly Instagrammable moments to Angelenos as early as late 2018. Also (presumably), he’s learned his lesson and won’t be serving meat bare-handed (though if we learned anything from this video of the Turkish meme legend karate chopping the ribs off a slab of meat, we know all bets are off when it comes to Salt Bae). Gökçe currently owns nine high-end steakhouses under the name Nusr-Et and an additional four Nusr-Et Burger restaurants, which he’ll be rebranding simply as “Salt Bae” here in the U.S.
It’s unclear whether the “Salt Bae” chain will carbon-copy the menu and aesthetics of Nusr-Et Burger, which ages its signature burger’s meat 28 days before grinding it into patties and topping them with Italian cheddar and caramelized onions.
There’s no word yet on whether Bae himself will be sprinkling our burgers, nor whether some of his steakhouse chain’s “Baes” will follow suit with new franchises (we’re looking at you, Sushi Bae and Wine Bae). Perhaps Burger Bae will make an appearance, à la Nusr-Et’s Rib Bae, and instead of hand-feeding you an enormous rib, he’ll hold a “so juicy” hamburger to your mouth. The mind wanders, and in this case, to some very strange places.
What is known is that L.A. will be Gökçe’s next target, housed in a yet-to-be-announced address, and that an outpost in NYC’s SoHo will follow. We also know that—according to Gökçe himself—he only serves “the best meats.” In a city that’s equally obsessed with quality burgers and social media, it’ll be interesting to see if one desire outweighs the other, or if Salt Bae’s new concept can catch meme-induced lightning in a bottle and appease both burger- and media-crazed Angelenos.