Back in January, Momofuku’s David Chang revealed that he was interested in partnering with Maple, the fledgling food delivery startup, because “no one’s ever taken the time to really do delivery food well." With Chang as a backer, Maple has since proved that it is possible to order a meal using a smartphone app and have it arrive on time and actually taste good. Now, Chang has launched Ando, his first delivery-only food service, to take the mobile-meal game into his own hands.
“I want this to be an experience, I want this to not necessarily just be an app," Chang told the Verge. "This is an extension of Momofuku, and if anything I think it's idiosyncratic. And when I say that, I mean we stick to what we think is right... I don't think this is going to be for everybody, but we want everyone to enjoy it."
Ando may be an extension of Momofuku (both properties derive their names from the Japanese instant-noodle innovator, Momofuku Ando), but in many ways the new business marks a distinct departure.
Chang first made a name for himself with Momofuku Noodle Bar, a Tokyo-style ramen shop on First Avenue in Manhattan, and has since built an empire that spans includes restaurants in Sydney and Toronto, as well as a fast-casual fried-chicken sandwich joint called Fuko.
So far, it appears Ando will similarly focus on sandwiches, offering customers a cheesesteak with pickled peppers, and a roast-pork creation topped with curried mustard, sauerkraut, and broccoli. A box of fried chicken and a selection of doughnuts and cookies seem to be on the menu as well, though the Verge notes there’s the possibility of secret items that customers can later unlock through the app.
Only the first 200 people who signed up for Ando were given access codes to the app on Monday. The service is also limited to a small radius around Midtown East, and orders will be delivered exclusively on UberRUSH, the transportation company’s on-demand delivery arm.
Even though a number of food delivery services have recently launched in New York City—including Maple, which Chang continues to have a stake in—the chef doesn’t feel the increasingly crowded market is a problem.
“I would look at it as, I have Noodle Bar and I have Ssäm Bar two-and-a-half blocks away from each other. Very different restaurants," he told the Verge. "I feel that at the same time, they serve the same clientele. It's a huge pie. I don't think anyone is ever going to have a monopoly on it."
You can get on the wait list by signing up for Ando here.