It is true: as first reported a couple months back, Han Dynasty‘s current Old City location is going to be shutting down soon (their lease runs out October 1) and the whole operation will be moving across the street to the former home of Reserve–the ginormous and super-luxurious steakhouse that died under the weight of its own ostentation last year.
As things look right now, it will re-open as the largest Han Dynasty yet (200 seats, give or take) at the end of September and will not just be a restaurant but “a nightlife destination for Old City” according to Danielle Drew-Wolas who, in addition to being Han’s personal assistant and in-house counsel, is also in change of PR and marketing, real estate development, business affairs and lease negotiation. She’s also project manager for the Reserve project. And is Han’s mother’s personal assistant. Busiest woman in show biz, that one.
But anyway, She was kind enough to show me around the new space, with its giant ceilings and imposing bar. And then she got to talking…
The new Han Dynasty will have two bars when it's done--a short one and a long one that seats 40, sitting down. There will be lots of beers on tap, plenty of wine and a cocktail program not unlike the one in University City.
You know what else you'll be able to get at the bar, though? A whole separate menu of Taiwanese street food being developed just for the new location. That alone is worth the price of entry for me, but the chance to hang out and eat upstairs, at the top of the ornate iron staircase that Reserve had installed, in the small, private room there would be pretty cool as well.
Once it gets up and running, Han is hoping to keep the new joint open 'til 2 or 3am most days. And while he's planning on keeping the core menu--and the dan dan noodles--intact, because the cooks will have so much space in the new kitchen (about three times as much as they're accustomed to now), he's also hoping to expand the menu with some specials, some new dishes he picked up while cruising through China on a research trip earlier in the year--and to find something to do with this:
That's the pizza over that got left behind when the Reserve team pulled out. No one is yet sure exactly what in the Szechuan canon might be appropriate for pizza oven cookery, but I'm pretty sure that Han will come up with something.
As far as other Han Dynasty news goes, his first Manhattan location opened yesterday to a capacity crowd. He's looking at expanding to L.A. next (and is already in negotiations for a space that will either be in Beverley Hills or West Hollywood). After that, it's on to Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago and Las Vegas--though not necessarily in that order. That plan Han so publicly put forward a few months back about opening a hundred Han Dynasties all across the country in the next four years? He's still sticking to that. He also wants a reality show and a chain of fast-food places called International Street Foods which will all look like alleys packed with food carts, but be, you know, indoors.
In short, the man wants to take over the entire world. One restaurant at a time. And after bouncing back across the street and getting to taste the Szechuan beef jerky that the kitchen was working on (something that they only normally do for their Monday tasting dinners--which will be a feature at the new space, and even have their own room), I wish him nothing but the best of luck.
All Han Dynasty Coverage [Foobooz]