Fact: Nobody does press releases like Nguyen Tran.
Late afternoon Friday, the founder and proprietor of downtown's Starry Kitchen sent out a lengthy, Hunter S. Thompson-like email explaining that the popular downtown restaurant space in Bunker Hill's California Plaza would be shuttering as of July 31st.
But that's not the whole story.
After a year-long run involving green tofu balls, banana suits, Laurent Quenioux collaborations, and dozens of wacky special events, the husband/wife team of Nguyen and Tri Tran are planning to move into a new space after a four mouth hiatus, apparently in the same plaza, which will allow them to grow and develop their current lunch service and begin what Nguyen Tran refers to as "taking one step back, and hopefully a million steps forward." Near the end of the letter, Tran even hints about the possibility of expanding into additional locations.
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In meantime, look for the SK crew to team up with chef Fred Eric of the Tiara Café for an extended family-style dinner series starting possibly as soon as August 9. Starry Kitchen will be available for catering and events in the interim. Read all the hilarious details below, in its glorious (unedited) entirety.
(SK *BOMBDROP*) The CURRENT SK is shutting down July 31st.. kinda/sorta (but it's good.. we promise!)
If it helps, you can quote me on this: THERE'S NO F*CKING WAY WE'RE QUITTING NOW! ;) This kinda sounds bad, right? But it's now time to F' SHIT UP AGAIN, so it's all good brothas+sistahs!
This might end up sounding confusing (especially for all you lunchers that have to endure some of the crazy line we get here), but let's try to make this quick+easy and then we'll get ino the juicy stuff (that's literally made my stomach turn from stress tryin' to figure all this shit OUT this last week!) afterwards:
-we ARE shutting down the current SK location on or around July 31st (so git yer daily lunch and ONE MORE full official Thurs+Fri "Din-Dins" in NOW suckas!)
-but we're NOT really leaving Cal Plaza. We've already put in an offer for another space in the same complex #truestory !
-and we just HAPPEN to be launching a Asian family style joint-venture Din-Dins (don't call it a pop-up, 'cause we want this to be permanent) between Team SK + Fred Eric at the Tiara Cafe that's going to have the possibly "confusing" for some (but hopefully straightforward for others) name of: Starry (Kitchen) Nights @ Tiara Cafe
-and just in case you're wondering, our friend Chef Laurent Quenioux will indeed be contributing a lil bit+collaborating with my wife/chef/KITCHEN NINJA Thi Tran on some items for the menu too (and MAYBE he'll even bring his LQ@ dinner series late on.. who knows) prolly around Aug 9th (I know, that's FAST and aggressive.. just the way I like it ;D)
So, that's a lot of info in as CONCISE a form as I can put it. For all the juicy details (that I can think of), read below:
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?
Well, to sum that up... running a restaurant is FUCKING HARD Y'ALL! In all the success that we've had, we've also fucked up a LOT (aka costing $$$$$), inherited a lot more problems than we expected when we took over and we're VERY LUCKY to have been presented an opportunity to WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN! Taking one step back, and hopefully a MILLION steps forward to continue growing SK (as well as continue wearing banana suits, lederhosen & inflatable taun-tauns while passionately cursing up a storm.. of COURSE!) It's pretty overwhelming to think about what we've learned now, and the multiple reasons that most outside of the business will never know why a restaurant that's "seemingly" successful can still have the potential of shutting down (and most would be too embarrassed to tell ya about).. it's a long list, but I will say for me (personally) lack of experience led to some VERY expensive learning (which is why "cleaning the slate" is a welcome option... HALLELUJAH!) ..."but I'm more experienced now MA!" LOL
Hey, in the end, life is about learning (and hopefully avoiding creditors as much as possible.. that's always nice too ;D).
NOTE: dun worry, we're in pretty good standing with ALL of our vendors and intend on paying them all. So if you wanna make up those stories like, "OH, I heard SK wasn't paying their bills on time!" I'll say.. yeah, maybe I was like 1 week late so I could pay my staff mo'fo! LOL
SK, HAVE YOU "JUMPED THE SHARK?"
I don't think so (but don't people who HAVE "jumped the shark" not think they have too?!?!) And btw, does jumping the shark mean I:
Jumped ON the shark
Jumped OVER the shark
Jumped WITH the shark
(according to WikiPedia, this originates in "the Fonz" jumping OVER a shark with ski's.. but who cares..)
Who knows?!?! But my answer is...
ARE YOU QUITTING ON US?
ARE YOU GONNA COME BACK TO CAL PLAZA?
F*CK YEAH! We can't abandon all 5-8 of you that love to eat with us all the time for lunchie-munchies! That would be just plain rude of us ^_^
ARE YOU GONNA SERVE THE SAME FOOD AT TIARA THAT YOU DO AT STARRY KITCHEN?
Yes and no... most likely newer dishes but FAMILY-STYLE oriented with some of the signature dishes like the CRISPY TOFU BALLS we'll probably serve down there.
SO ARE YOU GOING TO SERVE THE CRISPY TOFU BALLS?
Did you literally just skip the answer above?!?! :)
HOW DO I GET THE CRISPY TOFU BALLS (OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THAT MATTER) FOR LUNCH?
(WOW, you guys REALLY are obsessed with our balls... NICE! ^_^) Right now, we're looking at maybe setting up a consistent Tues+Thursday lunch catering run for Bunker Hill/DTLA. Whatchu think about that? You can either email us at email@example.com OR call us at 213.814.1123 to set something up!
DO YOU GUYS CATER?
YUP, we do. Our info is in the paragraph above, or if you're lazy (firstname.lastname@example.org | 213.814.1123). Outside of the lunch catering schedule we'll be setting up, we do all sorts of events: wedding, Jewish Asian mixers (no joke, we did that one recently), professional gatherings, Korean 1 year old birthday parties ("Tol"), big 500+ person parties.. you name it, we can PROBABLY DO IT.. PROBABLY! ^_^
WHEN YOU SETUP BACK IN CAL PLAZA WILL YOU BE YOUR SAME OBNOXIOUS (OR AS YOU SAY "PASSIONATE") SELF?
"Whatchu think meng?!?!" haha (aka YUUUUUUUP!)
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COME BACK TO CAL PLAZA?
I dunno, in a perfect world 4 months from now. *crossing my fingers*
ARE YOU EVER GOING TO EXPAND IN THOSE PLACES YOUR BIG MOUTH TELLS US YOU ARE (W.LA, NOHO, "BLAH BLAH BLAH")?
That's why this happening is ultimately POSITIVE! I can FINALLY figure all that out... I hope! (aka, the intention is "YES!")
There's probably more to answer, and I've probably lost 105% of you w/ all this jibba-jabba (I know, you can't have more than 100%, but when you're THIS long you can.. I promise!).. but trust me when I re-iterate...
THERE'S NO F*CKING WAY WE'RE QUITTING NOW! ;)
Love ya lots,
ALLLLLLLLL the staff of TEAM SK (and possibly Nguyen Tran+The Kitchen Ninja! ;D)
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