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Rice cakes Momofuku
Photograph: Courtesy Momofuku / Gabriele Stabile

David Chang’s Momofuku launches three-day pop-up kitchen and will give away all proceeds

It's the first time David Chang's restaurants have opened since mid March.

By
Bao Ong
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Like many other other restaurants, even David Chang’s ever popular Momofuku empire has suffered during the current crisis with the recent announcement of his restaurant Nishi in Chelsea closing for good. But now, Ssäm Bar in the East Village will reopen June 10-12 as a temporary donation kitchen pop-up of sorts with all proceeds being given to organizations advocating for equality.

The Second Avenue restaurant—which will move to the South Street Seaport to take over Chang’s Bar Wayō—will be open from noon-6pm with only one dish: rice cakes. There will be a spicy pork rice cakes and vegetarian rice cakes, both cost $15. You have to order online and there are 30 minute windows to pick up your dish.

All sales from the three-day restaurant will be donated to Black Lives Matter NY, Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP LDF.

“We stand in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have been murdered,” said Momofuku’s CEO Marguerite Mariscal in a statement that had been posted on the company’s website. “We have a long way to go and we need to work harder as a company to speak out and stand against both horrendous acts of violence and the daily injustices that the Black community faces. It’s important that we back our words with actions.” 

An expanded takeout menu is expected to roll out in the coming weeks, which could include other popular large-format meals like the fried chicken and duck dinners. The company will take orders on its website and avoid using third-party platforms for deliveries like Uber Eats, Caviar, Grubhub and Seamless.

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Last week, Momofuku posted the ubiquitous black square on its Instagram account that took over social media in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The team also announced plans for the to-go restaurant in the same post, where people commented on the company’s controversial relationship with Stephen Ross, the billionaire real estate developer who has invested in Momofuku restaurants. He is company chairman of Related, the developer behind Hudson Yards and the Time Warner Center, where Chang has restaurants (Kāwi and Noodle Bar, respectively).

It was last summer when Momofuku—as well as Equinox and SoulCycle, which Related owns—faced backlash because Ross hosted a fundraiser in the Hamptons for President Donald Trump. Chang denounced the event in his podcast and added: “This is a complicated situation for me, personally, and I know it raises a lot of questions for people who dine at our restaurants.”

Ssam Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Momofuku/Eric Medsker

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