The first New York location for fast-casual Chinese restaurant Junzi Kitchen will open on June 21 near Columbia University. The New Haven-based restaurant was conceived by Yale grads Yong Zhao, Wanting Zhang, and Ming Bai with chef Lucas Sin, who created a Northern China-based menu of noodle bowls and bings in the first location in 2015.
Junzi Kitchen has a Chipotle-like menu, with either a bing or noodles as the base, with various meats, vegetables, garnishes, and sauce options to mix in. The full menu for the NYC location is below and includes some rather cheffy ingredients for a fast-casual chain, such as chive ash and shrimp salt.
Because of an emphasis on efficiency and low prices, fast-casual restaurants can front businesses first more than full-service spots do — and Junzi Kitchen is no exception. Chinese Yale grad students created this case study of a concept while studying there, opening the first location in New Haven in October 2015 with the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute.
With customizable orders, Junzi Kitchen is a departure from another Chinese fast-casual spot, Xi’an Famous Foods which is dominating the NYC fast-casual space, with orders hitting a comparable price point — around $11. Co-owner Jason Wang similarly used his business school skills to grow the business, and Xi’an Famous Foods also has a location near Columbia and harbors aggressive expansion plans.
Junzi Kitchen’s first NYC location, with 1,800 square-feet and 35 seats, opens at 2896 Broadway on June 21. It will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.