Five years after chef Danny Bowien brought his San Francisco hotspot Mission Chinese to Manhattan — not without some hiccups, of course — he is expanding to Brooklyn, where he will open a Bushwick outpost in March 2018.
Anyone who knows both San Francisco and New York well might find it surprising he didn’t open somewhere in north Brooklyn in the first place.
The news was announced during a TimesTalks panel last night, where Bowien mixed it up with outspoken celebrity-chef Anthony Bourdain and food writer Kim Severson, according to Grub Street. Following the conversation, the Instagram account behind 8-Ball Community Inc., a local nonprofit arts collective, posted a photo of a “Mission Golden Ticket,” which, if you looked closely, revealed the location as 599 Johnson Avenue.
Let’s hope the new opening happens smoothly. Since Bowien arrived in New York, his restaurants have come up against a series of obstacles. The original Manhattan location of Mission Chinese on Orchard Street was shut down a year after it opened by the Health Department because of a rodent issue (the restaurant has since moved to East Broadway).
When Bowien opened his Mission Cantina just a block from the original Mission Chinese, it closed after three years in December 2016. Since then, Mission Cantina has continued to be a headache: the restaurant’s landlord took Bowien to housing court in April, and a month later an investor filed a lawsuit against him, claiming the chef violated their contract.
The stretch of Bushwick where the new Mission Chinese will open is filled with old textile factories that have mostly been converted into artist studios, although Jimmy Tu’s restaurant Bunker exists around the corner, and the Japanese ramen chain Ichiran recently opened a few blocks away.
No strangers to capitalizing on the neighborhood’s cachet, Bushwack Capital is redeveloping the former furniture factory where Mission Chinese will be located into a multipurpose venue with offices and a nightclub. Elsewhere, a new music venue from the people behind the former Williamsburg club Glasslands (before the new Vice offices pushed them out of the neighborhood) will open in a 24,000-square-foot space behind the restaurant next month.
Bushwack, which purchased the building for $4.45 million in February of 2015, has already removed the building’s ugly stucco coating, revealing the original red brick, and installed multi-paned industrial-style windows. A mural is planned for a side wall.
The developer has a number of other projects in the neighborhood, including artist studios at 58 Grattan and 99 Scott Avenue, currently home to the gigantic nightclub Mirage.
According to Grub Street, Mission Chinese will have a separate lease from Elsewhere, and occupy the street front.
Let’s hope Bowien can stay out of trouble until then.
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