Momofuku Kāwi — the Hudson Yards modern Korean restaurant considered by many to be the standout dining destination among the splashy establishments at the mega-development — has permanently closed, a spokesperson for the Momofuku restaurant group confirmed to Eater. The restaurant’s star chef Eunjo Park will now lead the kitchen at the revamped Ssäm Bar, which is set to open at the South Street Seaport next month, in the space previously occupied by Bar Wayō.
Peach Mart, a stall modeled on convenience stores in parts of Asia, which was located in the seven-story Shops at Hudson Yards, has also permanently closed, the Momofuku spokesperson tells Eater. The Fuku outpost at Hudson Yards is still open for takeout, however.
“Kāwi was a special and deeply personal restaurant for chef jo and everyone at Momofuku,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement referring to Park. “We want to thank our teams who worked hard to make Kāwi and Peach Mart what they were and to our guests who have supported us since day one at Hudson Yards.”
The top floor area occupied by Kāwi will now make way for commercial office space, according to a spokesperson for Hudson Yards. “While we will miss the talented Chef Park, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Momofuku team on new endeavors,” the spokesperson said in an email to Eater. Both Momofuku and Hudson Yards declined to share what this new collaboration might be, and neither provided details on whether the decision to close the restaurant was predicated on Hudson Yards developing more office space.
The decision to close Kāwi comes amid a year of dramatic changes in David Chang’s empire, which like many restaurant groups has been forced to recalibrate in light of the massive downturn in business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In May last year, Momofuku announced plans to close Chelsea restaurant Nishi, while announcing the relocation of the 15-year-old East Village icon Ssäm Bar.
Despite the restaurant group’s long history and ambitious expansion plans, it has had relatively few permanent closures over the years. Kāwi and Peach Mart now join Ando, and Má Pêche among the restaurant group’s closures in New York City. Momofuku still has Bāng Bar at Columbus Circle, Ko in the East Village, the original Noodle Bar, also in the East Village, and the soon-to-open Ssäm Bar, in NYC. Chang was recently under fire after former Momofuku employee Hannah Selinger wrote an essay for Eater after the release of Chang’s memoir last fall saying that while his book acknowledged his anger problems it “fails to account for trauma he caused me.”
Kāwi opened in May 2019, and garnered critical acclaim soon after from Eater critic Ryan Sutton who wrote that Park’s cooking “is a bright spot in the mall’s otherwise bleak dining landscape,” and from New York Times critic Pete Wells, who gave the restaurant two stars and described Kāwi’s dishes as being “built for pleasure.” Like many higher-end establishments, Kāwi remained closed for the entirety of the pandemic, and shut down permanently even before a full year of being open.
Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.