May 26, 2022

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David Chang’s Fuku returns to Houston with plan to make it less of a disaster this time

2 min read

Celebrity chef David Chang’s fried chicken pop-up, Fuku, returns to Houston starting April 29 after a tumultuous debut in the city last year. This time, it’s sticking around for good with no planned end date.

The acclaimed fried chicken sandwich began as a secret item at Chang’s lauded New York City restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar—not appearing on the menu, diners had to know to ask, a stunt that creates hype around trendy foods.

Now called Fuku, the concept offers a range of dishes from spicy fried chicken sandwiches to waffle fries. It has two storefronts in New York and hosts traveling pop-ups across the country.


In April 2021, Houstonians were excited to get a taste of the famous sando when it announced its arrival in the Bayou City. But the pop-up was widely regarded as a disaster, with customers reporting three-hour wait times, cold food and missing items. The most curious allegations included a side portion with a mere four fries, and an order arriving a full day late.

At the time, Fuku CEO Alex Munoz-Suarez apologized for the issues and told Eater Houston that “order volumes at REEF vessels were significantly greater than anticipated,” referring to the delivery platform they worked with.

With Fuku, chef David Chang marries the classic American comfort food with Asian flavors.

With Fuku, chef David Chang marries the classic American comfort food with Asian flavors.

Fuku

So, what’s changed this year that will make Fuku run smoother in Houston?

Munoz-Suarez confirmed Fuku received an “overwhelming response” last spring, and when asked how the company would operate differently in this latest iteration, he simply pointed to a change in partners.

“Fuku is committed to working with operating partners like Kitchen United that have proven track records of keeping up with delivery demand, minimizing wait times, and maintaining the highest brand standards,” Munoz-Suarez said in a statement to Chron. “We continue to work together with Kitchen United to ensure we’re always delivering the best possible guest experience.”

Kitchen United MIX describes itself as a “to-go food hall” hosting restaurants in California, Texas, New York, Chicago and Arizona. Fuku and Kitchen United debuted their first location in Santa Monica, Calif., in December 2021. It has an average of 3.5 stars on Yelp from more than 100 reviews, and does not appear to be garnering any widespread criticism similar to what the brand faced last year.

Beginning April 29, Houstonians will be able to order from Fuku’s Kitchen United MIX location inside the Kroger at 1035 North Shepherd, for both pick-up and delivery; orders can be placed in person or through KitchenUnited.com. The food will also be available on UberEats, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates.

Fuku and Kitchen United are planning to open 20 more outposts across the country.

Munoz-Suarez promised Fuku would be “back better, crispier, and spicier than ever.” Let’s see how that holds up.



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