wagamama midtown recently opened on 55th street between 6th and 7th avenues, and I’m beyond excited! This is the Pan-Asian eatery’s third location in Manhattan. The new venue is gorgeous with high ceilings, vibrant lighting, and ample seating for 85 patrons. Above all, it’s a casual, inviting environment. Besides that, the cuisine is a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dishes, all conceived by Executive Chef Steve Mangleshot. Think Shichimi Tofu, Chili Chicken Ramen, Ginger Chicken Udon, Grilled Duck Donburi, and Yasai Samla Curry. I attended the grand opening party and enjoyed veggie and chicken gyozas, veggie tempura, and panko chicken bao buns. All of the dishes are delicious and fit well with wagamama’s mantra of nourishing the body and soul.
In addition to the news of the wagamama midtown opening, the eatery also has some news on the ownership front. Robert Cornog and Richard Flaherty, two experienced restauranteurs who led Punch Bowl Social, are the new operational partners of the U.S. business. This is part of an 80:20 joint venture partnership with The Restaurant Group (TRG)- the parent company of wagamama. Cornog and Flaherty aim to quickly expand the brand across the U.S. They’re planning on opening 30-40 restaurants over the next few years.
I spoke to Flaherty about what inspired him to join Wagamama. He mentioned that “Pan-Asian cuisine is where it’s at. Not everyone in the US is aware of Wagamama and I want to change that.” I also spoke with Cornog about how Wagamama picks its locations. He said: “we want to be able to fit in different spaces with some elements that carry over, but not just be the same everywhere. There is an element of discovery when you dine at wagamama.” What an intelligent, dynamic duo!
So if you haven’t checked out wagamama midtown yet, be sure to stop by. You’ll enjoy tasty Pan-Asian cuisine in a vibrant, welcoming environment!