Restaurateur Marty Grims (Moshulu, White Dog) has closed is closing Du Jour, his upscale prepared foods market in the Symphony House at Broad and Pine Streets at the end of the month; he’ll reopen it in mid-September as an “affordable, accessible” Asian restaurant serving noodles, dumplings and wok-prepared dishes; he’s hired Tyson Wong Ophaso - who was most recently corporate chef for the well-respected Domaine restaurant group in Los Angeles and boasts a pedigreed resume - as chef. Grims plans to name the new spot Chew Man Chu. Yes. Chew Man Chu. We checked in with Grims to ask about the origin of the name and here’s what he told us.
Grims, in his own words, tells us how the Chew Man Chu name to be:
“I think that when we started the naming process we wanted to convey ‘fun, approachable, casual’, we started talking about things that are Asian or Asian-inspired and what comes to mind? It started with someone saying ‘Fu Manchu’ and someone else said what happens if you reverse it? You get ‘Chu Man Fu.’ Then we went online and there was a video game called Chew-Man-Fu; what’s funny is that the main character is set up to rob the world of fried rice and eggrolls and other Asian favorite foods. Then we were talking and said, ‘Chew-Man-Fu, that’s funny’, and we thought, ‘are we opening ourselves up to a lawsuit from the video game people?’ We turned it into Chew Man Chu, sort of artistic variance from Chew-Man-Fu. We thought the premise was funny.”
Menu prices at Chew Man Chu will be under $20; Grims hopes to tap into the university crowd that never seemed to take to Du Jour and to draw diners from Rittenhouse. The space also a liquor license and will get a minor renovation that takes advantage of the relatively new existing interior.
Ophaso will also helm a more ambitious Asian restaurant in the former Cutter’s in Commerce Square, which is being designed by Jeffrey Beers, and has an anticipated spring 2010 opening date.