HOSPITALITYDESIGN: David Chang Permanently Closes Two Restaurants

Will Speros •
May 15, 2020

Bar Wayō. Photography by Bob Gundu

Chef and restaurateur David Chang is making changes to Momofuku restaurant group. He announced that the Nishi and CCDC outposts—in New York and Washington, DC, respectively—will not reopen following the pandemic.

Additionally, Chang revealed that fellow New York location Ssäm Bar will be relocated from the East Village to the former Bar Wayō site at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, where the two teams will be combined. Momofuku’s chief executive Marguerite Zabar Mariscal further detailed the changes in a post on the company’s website.

“I want to recognize the teams at Nishi and CCDC,” Mariscal writes. “In circumstances where most other restaurants would falter, we succeeded. I wish we could have continued writing those stories.”

In the post, Mariscal outlined remaining employee benefits for the teams of shuttered locations. The Momofuku Bluetape Fund has so far distributed $400,000 in aid to restaurant staff and COBRA medical insurance payments will continue to be covered by the company. An employee assistance program will also provide mental health, legal, and financial support.

“Momofuku’s guiding principle has always been that ‘what got us here, won’t get us there.’ Now more than ever, it is essential. This crisis has exposed the underlying vulnerabilities of our industry and made clear that returning to normal is not an option. For our industry to have a future, we must do nothing less than rethink how restaurants operate,” Mariscal’s post continues. “As we looked at new realities, neither restaurant had enough cushion to sustain the shock of this crisis. We investigated every scenario to make the math work—negotiating with our landlords, changing the service model, and more—but with increased investments in health and safety, huge reopening expenses, and the lack of rent relief, the financial picture of these wholly-owned restaurants no longer made sense.”

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