Been a minute since we last did a gossipy assessment of the food and beverage industry stuff in town. Lets jump right into it.
Ken Walker is Leaving Bubba's
A Shanghai F&B legend, Ken Walker announced via his WeChat that he's leaving Bubba's due to ongoing health issues, handing it over to Matty Waters who was behind the rebranding of The Camel into the well-liked BBQ joint, Smokehouse, on Xiangyang Lu. Matt will be completely renovating and rebranding it with an entirely new concept. According to Matty, the new place will be "an elevated sports bar with completely original recipes, featuring shareable bar snacks for game days, a solid lineup of burgers and sandwiches, BBQ dishes, and other fare, including some vegetarian options."
All the best to Ken and good health and recovery.
Bryce Jenner Isn't With Big Bamboo Anymore
Speaking of Shanghai Legends. Bryce Jenner announced via his LinkedIn that he's made an exit and is open to new opportunities, outside of China. Various partners have stepped in to take over the Big Bamboo's and that were part of the True Legend Group.
Swiss Butchery Closes Most Retail Shops
Difficult times for retail businesses, and especially for those catering to a more international audience. Swiss Butcheries around the city are in the process of closing down. However, the brand lives on with its downtown location on Wulumuqi lu. For those living outside the city center, you can still get European style butchered cuts using their online store, www.swissbutchery.com.
Huttopia Is Closed. Temporarily?
Remember the family-friendly retreat we wrote about less than a year ago? Kind of the place we've all been looking for. Not too far away, not too expensive. Lots of nature. Well, they closed down a few weeks ago citing issues with the local partners, saying they might re-open if things get sorted out. Good luck to them.
More news Bites
The excellent Turkish restaurant Efes has moved, taking over a space just across the street from where they opened less than a year ago on Huashan Lu. We previously covered them here. The new place has outdoor seating, is brighter and looks a lot more cozy than the old one.
Mercado 505 is currently under renovation. Expected to resume operations on 1st April.
1001 Nights has moved from their original location (the one with the bowling alley) on Hengshan Lu to the 5th floor of the building on Julu/Changshu Lu that houses Xibo/Porto Matto/Vedas. The menu remains the same.
The Long List of Openings
The weeks leading up to Chinese New Year is a terrible time to open a new venue in Shanghai -- everyone's left town already, and you got to pay 3 times the salary during the CNY holidays. But that didn't seem to stop these places from opening anyway.
Here's what we got:
18 Hours Texas Barbecue - Next to Jing'an Temple has been open for a while, but it's worth mentioning. A pretty self-explaining name, 18 hours is a reference to how long it takes them to cook the meat for. Pretty good set menus 148rmb for a bit of everything on their menu - worth trying.
18 by Frederic Anton - Big deal French chef taking over the space of another big deal French chef, Joël Robuchon. Chef Frédéric Anton, who held three Michelin stars for 17 consecutive years at the restaurant Le Pré Catelan in Paris, brings some classic dishes to Shanghai.
Sub Standard - Sandwich and Pizza shop by Jason Oakley (ex Café Gray Deluxe, Coquille, Cages) up in Jing'an. It's a concept that's been in the making for a few years - Jason first mentioned it on SmartShanghai here in 2017. He's left operations at Cages to make time for this and a few other upcoming projects. Already available for delivery through Ele.me except for a Feb 9-12 CNY break.
Lawry's The Prime Rib, the antique American restaurant, returns to Shanghai for a 2nd time (they were here before with a restaurant in Xintiandi). The lunch sets at 268rmb including a salad, dessert, a prime rib and sides, seems like a good deal to check it out.
MALAYA 19th - A newly opened Malaysian restaurant with affordable prices and Malaysian-themed decor, serving the greatest hits of Malaysia. Shanghai's resident Malaysian food blogger likes it.
Nabi - An upscale but tiny Korean restaurant from the previous owner of Jeju Sagye . They started taking reservations last week for their March 1st opening, and if you didn't make one you'll probably have to wait for a while.
Shanghai Modern Restaurant - Pretty good name, at least for SEO. It's not actually a Shanghai restaurant thought, but a "modern European grill with Asian influences" in the new Artyzen NEW BUND 31 Hotel in Qiantan. More openings in this new "immersive social hub" expected in March with yet another SEO-esque restaurant, Shanghai Modern Tapas Bar.
Turkuaz Doner takes over the space of Malaysian restaurant BOIBOI in north Jing'an.
BABAR - we are a bit late on this too, been open since December, is the new bar from Simon Briens (RAC and Blaz) and Guillaume Tu (Spread bar à tartine) overlooking Donghu Lu. Blaz is really nice and the only place that seems to survive in that Donghu Lu villa that used to be El Willy and other things, so we totally want to try Simon's new place too.
And Pho VieThin, a 46-year-old Pho establishment in Hanoi with now several branches worldwide, is set to open their first Shanghai franchise in March.
The Totally incomplete List of Closures
We used to update a list of closed venues, but recently stopped updating because it would essentially be a full-time job. We'll just throw in here a few noteworthy closures.
Live music venue Shake has closed for the 2nd time, this time for good, apparently.
ØSP closed after less than a year. Another concept started being "too busy" to respond to any inquiries until they apparently weren't busy at all.
Jing'an cocktail/dive bar Post No Bills closed.
D.O.C. closed on Dagu Lu and moved to Yongkang Lu. 3rd time is a charm.
Husk, the venue from Charles Cabell that long-time Shanghai expats remember from Mesa & Manifesto, closed.
As mentioned above, Le Daily closed, despite doing excellent sandwiches, which is further proof that the market for excellent sandwiches isn't that big.
Kin Urban Thai's (Thai concept from the Camel Group and Camden Hauge) second location in Jing'an is closing this week.
Beloved modern vegan place, Duli is closed a while ago. Speaking to the owner, Thijis they are not too far away from securing a new spot in Jing'an.
Speaking of closures. Not F&B, but kind of worth mentioning. Almost all outlets of gym chains My Gym, Tera Wellness and Physical have closed. See why they always push so hard for two-year memberships?