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David Chang’s ghost kitchen ‘Fuku’ is coming to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor with free delivery for the first month.

"Sando" available from Fuku, a new ghost kitchen arriving to Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
"Sando" available from Fuku, a new ghost kitchen arriving to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. (Clay Williams)

Fuku, a fried chicken spot from New York celebrity chef David Chang, is set to begin operations in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

But don’t look for a restaurant: the new concept is what’s known as a ghost kitchen, and the only way to eat it is to get it delivered.

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Starting Thursday, Fuku’s core menu of sandwiches, chicken fingers and waffle fries will be available through Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates. Expect spicy flavor profiles — chicken for the sandwiches is brined for 24 hours in habanero chiles — as well as Korean influences like kimchi-flavored mayo.

City residents who want to sample it themselves can receive free delivery via Uber Eats until February 28.

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The project is a partnership with REEF, a technology firm with a national network of ghost or “virtual kitchens” that includes 4,500 locations across the U.S., according to a release.

Fuku is part of a major expansion of REEF’s presence in Baltimore. The company, which currently has locations in Pigtown, Halethorpe and Bolton Hill/Reservoir Hill, plans to have 20 kitchens up and running in the area by the end of the year. Others are set to open in coming months in Hampden and Point Breeze.

The ghost kitchen model has grown in popularity during the pandemic as delivery orders surge and business owners seek a more profitable alternative to sit-down restaurants. Others in Baltimore include Scratch Made and The Urban Oyster, which left its brick and mortar location in Locust Point last year for temporary space in the city’s Hotel Revival.

The new delivery-only project comes as Mayor Brandon Scott signed into law a new cap on the commissions that third party apps can charge. Some companies have warned that customers can expect to see new fees tacked onto their orders.

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According to a release, Fuku began as an off-menu sandwich at Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City. In addition to New York, other Fuku branches and REEF partnerships operate in the Washington and Miami areas as well as Philadelphia. A brick-and-mortar Fuku restaurant in Boston closed last year, as did another in New York.

The eatery’s culinary director, Stephanie Abrams, is a Maryland native. In a statement, the Johns Hopkins graduate and political science major touted her “deep appreciation for Baltimore’s food culture,” particularly steamed crabs and Natty Boh.

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