Friday, November 4, 2011

UPDATE: Yum Bunz Location Revealed, Opening Delayed

For over a year I've heard from Mike Blum, creator of The Real Chow Baby, that his next concept would be something (smaller) but better, then came the name, Yum Bunz, and finally, a location. Located within a street level restaurant space at the 935 Marietta apartments, (935M) Yum Bunz will occupy a 3300 sf' space with planned seating for up to 100 diners.



While Mike originally had hoped to have his first Yum Bunz open and operating by year end, finding what he feels is the perfect location took a little longer than expected and as such, delayed the opening. With the deal set to close any day now, Blum tells me he hopes have the restaurant open by May. One major factor that drew Blum to this space in particular ,is access to 85 (non valet) parking spaces.



Given the success of The Real Chow Baby, it's clear Blum knows what he's doing when it comes to Asian cuisine, but the Bao is a bit tricky and rumor has it he got some help. A well known local chef (possibly Guy Wong of the ever popular Miso Izakaya) is consulting with Blum on the menu design and could turn out to be a partner in the business. The extent of Guy's involvement, if any, remains unconfirmed as of this article.

Based off the the popular Asian "Bao", Yum Bunz will feature eight Bao varieties stuffed with such fillings as chicken, beef, pork and even chocolate. Costing about $1.50 per Bao, the food is economical and would seem to be a perfect fit for the area considering the large concentration of college students. Additionally, the menu will also include a wide range of pot stickers, noodle bowls, salads and soups, all under 6 bucks.



While in Chicago earlier this year, I had the opportunity to try Wow Bao, the Lettuce Entertain You concept from which Blum drew his inspiration for YB. ( In related news, Lettuce Entertain You's sole Atlanta concept, Wildfire, will close December 21st after having its lease bought out by Darden who plans to open The Capital Grille in its place.) It was on this trip I found out that the Bao was merely a menu item at Big Bowl Asian Kitchen (now known as Big Bowl Fresh Chinese and Thai), another LEY concept, and it became so popular, that the separate Wow Bao business was launched. Currently there are five Wow Baos open, all in Chicago, but I'm told others will soon follow, possibly in other markets. Having tried a number of Bao on my trip, I would not be surprised to see the Yum Bunz concept become a hit here in Atlanta.



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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was recently in Chicago and went to Wow Bao. Great concept. Healthy, cheap, can be a meal or a snack. The location though isn't great for the snack part. The one in Chicago I went to was in a mall on Michigan Avenue. Right in the middle of everything. Easy to get one Bao. But based on the location, I would definitely go for a meal, but unlikely for a quick snack. If successful, hope to see locations open near Emory or GT or in a food court at a mall.

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon,

I visited that Michigan Ave location as well. It's well situated in Water Tower Place and makes a perfect quick snack or lunch. Another location, at State & Lake was near a university and doing a great lunch business when I dropped in. Locations near Emory, GT, GSU and maybe even UGA would be great and would surely do well, just a matter of getting the perfect space.

Thanks for reading and for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Ask Mike Blum's business partners (who he abandoned), how they would define his "success" with The Real Chow Baby. Good luck, Mr. Wong.