Since opening at Columbus Circle late last month, David Chang’s Bāng Bar has been mobbed by midtown hordes apparently starved for his unconventional take on kebab sandwiches—marinated meat carved off vertical spits and swaddled in griddled flatbread. And no wonder—it’s an inventive, affordable option in a shopping complex otherwise largely devoted to name-brand fine-dining destinations like Masa and Per Se. “We wanted to open a restaurant that could be beneficial to people in the area,” says Chang, himself no stranger to the allure of handheld fast-food options.
We were curious, though, how he arrived at his most outlandish-sounding bāng, the breakfast sandwich made with lardo-basted, spit-roasted mortadella. The original inspiration was more supermarket-refrigerator-case than fancy Italian salume. “People don’t eat bologna enough,” says Chang, who admits it’s a tougher sell than the pistachio-studded import. At first, he attempted to use Taylor ham, also known as pork roll, New Jersey’s official breakfast meat, but found it too small to put on the spit. The final formula derived from other sandwiches Chang has known and loved, plus the addition of ingredients typically found in the vicinity of the humblest bologna sandwich, namely American processed cheese and a swipe of mustard. So yes, you could say Dave Chang is selling bologna sandwiches for breakfast in a mall. Which is not to suggest they aren’t the best bologna sandwiches you’ve ever had for breakfast in a mall, or anywhere else, for that matter.
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On the menu at Bāng Bar; $4; 10 Columbus Cir., third fl.; 646-918-8752.
*A version of this article appears in the November 12, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!