Chef/restaurateur David Chang permanently shuttered his DC outpost of Momofuku in May and has temporarily halted operations of his fried-chicken spot Fuku at Audi Field and Capital One Arena. But the Northern Virginia native isn’t abandoning the area just yet. On October 8, his team will launch a new, delivery-only version of Fuku, which will serve parts of DC and Arlington.
Fuku—headed in New York by another DC-area native, chef Stephanie Abrams—is partnering with REEF Kitchens, which operates ghost kitchens around the country, including in Arlington. The kitchens are run out of trailers in underutilized urban parking lots where it’s easy for delivery drivers to come and go. They also come fully staffed, so Fuku’s corporate team is training the existing employees rather than hiring from scratch.
Given the operation’s small footprint, the menu will be small too. While other Fuku locations have dark-meat sandwiches, the DC operation will focus only on chicken breasts. Abrams has been tweaking the recipe over the past year to make it “spicier, crispier, and saucier.” The white meat is brined for 24 hours in a habanero puree. “It’s got some really great spice to it, but like a floral spice. It’s not just one note like a cayenne would be,” she says.
The $9 sandwiches are slathered with a “Fuku mayo”— inspired by kimchee marinade with ginger, Korean chili flakes, and garlic–and served with pickles on a Martin’s potato roll. There are other add-ons: The “knock out” version, for example, is inspired by a Reuben sandwich and includes seasoned cabbage and Russian dressing. You can also get your fried chicken with bacon and ranch or coated in a sweet-and-spicy gochujang glaze.
Beyond sandwiches, Fuku will sell chicken tenders (a.k.a. “Fuku fingers”) as well as waffle fries with sweet jalapeño seasoning. The team is planning to add new menu items going forward.
“We do take some inspiration from In-N-Out where at first glance the menu seems very simple,” Abrams says. “But there’s a lot of ways to mix and match and play around to really customize it.”
Fuku will be available via UberEats, and delivery will be free through October.