David Chang — restaurateur, media personality, and the guy you’ve probably been watching on Ugly Delicious these past few weeks — is bringing his growing chicken chain, Fuku, to Boston’s Seaport District, perhaps the city’s most rapidly developing neighborhood. (It has a tendency to attract out-of-town chains, especially fast-casual ones, from Sweetgreen to Luke’s Lobster to Shake Shack.)
On the neighborhood’s website, Fuku is listed as “coming soon” to 43 Northern Ave. (the One Seaport development), which would put it across the street from Empire and steps from District Hall, Kings, Tuscan Kitchen, and numerous other venues, many fairly new. As the Seaport website notes, Fuku is “a casual chicken concept by [Chang’s] Momofuku” that serves a variety of chicken options, including fried chicken sandwiches, as well as slushies and more.
It is expected to open this summer, per a rep for WS Development (the firm behind One Seaport), and the Boston menu will include various chicken options, the aforementioned slushies, seasonal specials, and more.
“Fuku’s upcoming arrival in the Seaport is hugely exciting news for the city, and will mark a completely original, first-to-market brand for Bostonians,” said WS Development’s Todd Norley, vice president of leasing, in a statement. “The dining options in the Seaport have never been stronger, and they only continue to grow.”
A representative for Fuku confirms the forthcoming expansion, which has apparently been in the works for at least a few months: A search of corporate filings reveals that a Fuku Boston Seaport LLC was registered in late 2017 to David Chang and Celia Zhang, who is vice president of business development and operations for Fuku, and the New York address on the application matches up with an address connected to Momo Holdings LLC, as listed on the Momofuku website.
Fuku first opened in mid-2015 as a simple fried chicken sandwich joint, but as it’s grown to multiple locations around New York (and one at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium), the menu has expanded. While it varies a bit from location to location, the spicy fried chicken sandwich is the featured item at all of them, and Fuku customers may also find crispy squash rings, “Fuku fingers,” cookies from sister restaurant Milk Bar, spicy tomato soup, and more, along with a small booze selection, such as High Life, a couple sakes, and a soju-infused slushie. No word yet on whether the Boston location will seek a liquor license.
Eater NY critic Ryan Sutton visited the original location on opening day and had this to say about the sandwich:
The first thing you notice is the lopsided ratio of meat to bread. The chicken spills out of the bun like an oversized bao; it’s a giant, uber-American version of the Momofuku pork bun. This means you get bites of pure poultry. And the poultry is glorious. The outside is about as crunchy as a deep-fried chicken, without that overly dense bite one might encounter with a deeper skillet fry. The flavor, even though you’re eating thigh meat (versus a Chick-Fil-A breast), is neutral. This isn’t the funky poultry apotheosis we’re dealing with here. This is about the thigh carrying the flavor of the spices. And those spices are good, recalling the KFC spicy fried chicken wings I used to eat on Sundays while watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. These are flavors from the pre-YouTube era.
This won’t exactly be Chang’s first foray into the Boston dining scene. (Well, depending on how opening timelines shake out, it may be.) Milk Bar, with pastry mogul Christina Tosi at the helm, has long been working on a Harvard Square location in partnership with DC-based pizza chain &pizza. The pizza-and-dessert spot could open this spring, if all goes as planned. Aside from numerous New York locations, Milk Bar has already expanded to Las Vegas, DC, and Toronto, serving up elaborate cakes, cereal-infused milks and ice creams, and other sweets.
Stay tuned for updates on opening dates as the Momofuku empire begins its Boston invasion.
Update, 9 a.m.: This piece has been updated with information on a Fuku opening timeline and general menu information per a rep for WS Development, and a quote from Todd Norley, WS Development vice president of leasing, has been added.
Update, 12:20 p.m.: This piece has been updated again to reflect confirmation from the Fuku camp.