The Junzi Kitchen team announced the opening of its second restaurant, which opened its doors on the morning of Wednesday, June 21. Merging modern American ideas and culture with Northern Chinese culinary traditions, Junzi Kitchen’s first New York City location is adjacent to Columbia University at 113th Street and Broadway, in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City.
Founded by a group of graduate students from Yale University, Junzi Kitchen offers a new Chinese food dining experience. Junzi Kitchen Columbia echoes the collegiate spirit of the restaurant’s first location at Yale, which was successfully launched with the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute in New Haven, Connecticut, in October 2015.
Junzi Kitchen’s co-founders Yong Zhao, Wanting Zhang, and Ming Bai worked closely with Chef Lucas Sin to create a beloved brand of Northern Chinese food at their New Haven location. The restaurant’s signature noodle bowls and chun bing wraps, served with seasonal ingredients, draw from the cuisine of Northern China. Because rice historically hasn’t grown well in that region, wheat has long been the focal grain of the cuisine, where it is ground and mixed into water, forming the dough for bing. Junzi Kitchen focuses on two types of bing—noodles and chun bing wraps—both of which can be filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, sauces and garnishes.
“Bing dough manipulation has always been the cornerstone of Chinese foodways,” says Junzi Kitchen chef Lucas Sin. “The Junzi team is excited to have evolved our food, foundation and experience from our first New Haven location and offer it to New York City,” continued Junzi founder Yong Zhao. “We hope that by bringing together our traditional food and culture in a modern American style of dining, we can add to New York’s ever-growing and changing culinary landscape.”
Guests of Junzi Kitchen start by selecting a base of chun bing (available in white or wheat flour) or noodle bowl (available in wide knife noodles or thin spring noodles). They then add a main protein before selecting stir-fry and bright seasonal vegetables such as wild cabbage, cucumber, and buddha’s palm. Garnishes such as scallions, chili oil, and chive ash come next, and then the customized dish is finished off with a sauce selection, such as savory soy, garlic chili, or tomato egg drop. Traditional sides of chili tofu and smashed cucumbers complement the main offerings, and house teas, soft drinks and juices complete the menu. Dishes are prepared in front of guests as they select their protein and vegetable options, all in about one minute.
Always looking to experiment and evolve, beginning later this summer the restaurant will also offer a late-night menu dubbed “Night Lunch,” which will feature Chinese street foods such as pork belly bings, fried chicken, and mala noodles, along with experimental dishes from the Junzi crew and local partner chefs.
The 1800 square feet location of Junzi Kitchen Columbia has 35 seats for customers and is located at 2896 Broadway, New York City. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with Night Lunch hours beginning on weekends later this summer.