Chinese fast-casual concept Junzi Kitchen is opening its fourth and largest location to date at 135 West 41st Street on April 26, 2019, bringing its updated Chinese dining experience to Bryant Park in Manhattan. Bryant Park will serve as the company’s first flagship and test kitchen, and executive chef and culinary director Lucas Sin will pilot a range of new offerings to be rolled out at all locations in the coming months.
Helmed by chef Lucas and founded by Yong Zhao, Wanting Zhang, and Ming Bai, Junzi Kitchen is a new fast-casual restaurant specializing in two Northern Chinese staples: noodles and bings. With the company’s test kitchen on site, Junzi Bryant Park will be the launching pad for new menu offerings, such as the brand’s first Chinese salad bowl: a Bok Choy Salad with kale, cucumbers, ginger-sesame dressing, king oyster and beech mushrooms, with a choice to add roasted chicken thigh.
“This new kitchen will allow us to get even more creative and dig deeper into our culinary roots,“ says chef Lucas.
Junzi Bryant Park will also introduce a number of new grab & go items, including:
- Little Dishes (Sides): In addition to the upgraded version of Smashed Cucumbers and Braised Beef Shank, there will be Savory String Beans in a dipping sauce of black sesame, rice vinegar, and soy bean paste and Smoked Tofu & Celery with sesame oil
- Sweets: Mango Pudding with whipped coconut cream and Sweet Silken Tofu in ginger-brown sugar syrup
- Destination Teas: A proprietary line of bottled cold brew teas made in collaboration with LuvTEA. Flavors include Anhui Black Rose, Fujian Jasmine Lychee, and Guangdong Lychee Black (unsweetened)
After launching three successful campus-adjacent restaurants—beginning with the original New Haven location near Yale, the founders' alma mater, followed by locations near Columbia and NYU, on Bleecker Street—Junzi Bryant Park’s opening signifies the brand’s transition into the workplace market. From college students to young professionals, the location is the first major step towards bringing simple and thoughtful Chinese food to everyone.
“Junzi started as an effort to connect more people to modern Chinese food with a scalable startup model. Bryant Park is a pivot point in the process of making it accessible to more people. It’s also a statement to show efficiency and competitiveness in such a dense working area,” says Yong Zhao, co-founder and CEO of Junzi.
Designed by Junzi’s own architecture and development team led by Xuhui Zhang (previously architect at Pei Cobb Freed), Junzi Bryant Park occupies the street level of the hundred-year-old Bush Tower on West 41st Street. Inspired by the marquee-lights of the Theater District nearby, the light-filled dining area is clad with birch wood shelving and chairs, brass metal lighting details complemented by raw concrete floors, light gray leather banquette benches and custom concrete table tops. A celebration of the existing structure, exposed columns and beams are from the original building structure, forming a series of proscenium arches and framing the space as sequential stages from the foreground to the back. A floor-to-ceiling dark green velvet curtain, inspired by those gracing Broadway theater stages, can be drawn across the center of the restaurant to transform the fast-casual space into a banquette-style dining room for special events, such as Junzi's monthly Chef’s Table dinners, where guests sit down for an intimate, themed, multi-course menu served by chef Lucas.
Junzi is excited to add a new culinary dimension to the lively neighborhood, which boasts such brands as Equinox, SoulCycle, and Muji. Junzi Kitchen Bryant Park will be open daily from 10:30 am until 10:00 pm.