David Chang’s Momofuku closes restaurants in Toronto

A decade after Torontonians first lined up for hours for bowls of ramen, platters of bossam and pork belly baos, New York chef David Chang’s catering company, Momofuku, has announced that it would cease operations in the city on December 23.

BlogTO first announced the company’s exit from town on Thursday, citing an unnamed former employee. The Star contacted a Momofuku representative and received the following statement Friday afternoon as Toronto employees were notified of the impending closure:

“After 10 incredible years at 190 University Avenue, momofuku Toronto is closing on December 23. We have decided not to renew our lease on site,” the statement read. “We are deeply grateful to the Toronto community for their support over the past decade. Thank you to the past and present teams and guests who have joined us over the years for making momofuku Toronto such a special part of the Momoverse. Toronto will always feel like home.

Momofuku is also offering Toronto operations employees who stay during the shutdown a retention bonus of $2,000, said company spokeswoman Monica Narula.

Momofuku opened to much fanfare in Toronto in September 2012 in a three-story freestanding glass building at 190 University Ave. Each of the floors of the building had a different restaurant concept. On the first floor is a Noodle Bar ramen restaurant, followed by Nikai Bar on the second floor and Shoto restaurants on the third floor, which served tasting menus, and Daisho, which did family-style platters.

The following year, Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi opened a retail outpost of her Milk Bar dessert concept inside the building, selling her famous compost cookies, grain milk, and milk pies ( formerly known as Crack Pies).

In 2018, the third-floor Shoto and Daisho made way for Kojin, first led by Chef Paula Navarrete who brought Colombian influence to the menu and later Chef Eva Chin (now at the East Brewery The Avling) was recruited from Vancouver to be in charge of the Kojin kitchen just before the pandemic.

Kojin recently reopened in March for dinner with a new menu and new chef, Eric Seto, and was a Michelin-recommended restaurant last week.

In addition to restaurants, Chang founded the now-defunct magazine Lucky Peach, created and starred in the Netflix series Ugly Delicious for two seasons; writes cookbooks; and in 2020 published a memoir, which prompted a former New York employee to write an essay that calls out Chang for fostering an abusive work environment.

Chang responded in the essay saying he did not recall the specific events detailed in the article, but said it was consistent with his behavior at the time and apologized.

Outside of Toronto, Momofuku currently has restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Over the past two years, Momofuku has closed some of its other restaurants: CCDC in Washington, DC; Nishi in New York; Momofuku Seibo in Sydney, Australia; and Moon Palace and Majordomo Meat & Fish on the Las Vegas Strip.


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