Breaking news from SXSW in Austin: Just moments ago at the event's keynote address, NYC chef David Chang — he of the Momofuku restaurant empire as well as the food mag Lucky Peach and PBS TV series Mind of a Chef, amongst other projects — announced he's opening a fried chicken restaurant in Manhattan. It's something he's been hinting at for some time, previously posting photos of spicy chicken sandwich creations to Twitter.
Called Fuku, it will take over the space previously occupied by Momofuku Ko (which relocated to bigger digs last October) — as Eater NY previously suggested. It's a tribute of sorts to the space's previous occupant, which was a fried chicken place called East Village Barbecue.
"We're going to try to make the best fried chicken sandwich possible, and work with smartest people out there to make the best tech stuff for it," says Chang. There's also a mobile app in the works; details on that were scarce, but Chang did say he's a fan of the Taco Bell app that lets guests order remotely. He hints that the whole thing is a beta test for a "bigger concept," saying that he eventually wants to serve great food in the suburbs.
He cites both Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out as inspiration, noting that the first meal he had when he got into Austin was Chick-Fil-A. "We thought about taking both and merging them into one sandwich," he says. "No one ever thought to do that. [What if you could] ask for spicy chicken Animal-style?"
Chang acknowledges that it's a risky endeavor but seems optimistic, saying, "If the fried chicken sandwich is fantastic, and if the app is fantastic, great. But if it bombs completely, great. Out of those ashes something amazing will happen."
The website for Fuku lives at eatfuku.com, but don't get too excited — it's just a landing page for now.