David Chang: Puffy Coats Nearly Ruined Canada’s Momofuku Empire


No, really — Toronto residents have a thing about eating and wearing the down, puffy coats that we hate and love so much.

In a new interview with the Toronto Star, David Chang shared how hard it’s been to open the trifecta of Momofuku restaurants in Toronto. But really, who knew that it was really the outerwear of Torontonians could threaten a business empire so much? You have to read it to believe it.

But as the fall weather turned cooler, the lack of a coat rack at the ramen empire’s Noodle Bar became fodder for jokes, nasty comments on Yelp and an annoyance for staff.

Management struggled to find a place for the piles of outerwear as irritated patrons struggled to slurp pricey bowls of ramen while teetering atop their Canada Goose coats. Hostesses whined at having to spend their shifts running coats upstairs.

Hooks beneath the tables didn’t work. There was nowhere to hide a coat rack on the lower level without it falling over. Drilling into the heated concrete floor was not an option so staff tried gluing the rack in place.

“It was a pain in the ass,” says [executive chef Sam] Gelman, who became consumed with the coat issue. He eventually gave in and placed a cheap, utilitarian coat rack just inside the front door and coatgate finally became a receding memory.

Yes, there was a literal coat-gate. We’re dying

But among Chang’s other restaurant troubles, which he shares with a pleasantly surprising humility, was the cold winter months (no one eats out during the month of January), big personalities in the kitchen (including his own temper, he says), and competition. The good news is that things are looking up for Chang’s Toronto restaurants — because if we’ve learned anything in life, crack pie and pork buns solve everything.

[Toronto Star]

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