Amy Mosberger and Tobias Womack immediately gained a following while popping up as Red's Chinese in the Bywater earlier this year. The duo will bring their signature Chinese flavors combined with Southern and Cajun ingredients to St. Claude later this fall with a highly-anticipated new brick-and-mortar. The couple moved down here from New York a year or so ago and have been working toward opening the restaurant, with Womack (a Mission Chinese alum) in the kitchen and Mosberger (alum of Brooklyn restaurant Martha) tackling front of house, since they hit town.
Their concept is inspired by Danny Bowien's San Francisco and New York restaurants, Mission Chinese. Below, see what co-owner and co-creator Mosberger has to say about what brought the pair here and what they hope to see happen in their culinary corner of the world.
How's the process of opening Red's Chinese coming along?
Right now, we're just waiting for the permits to come through. The majority of the build out is done, we just have the cosmetic stuff to work on right now. We're still hoping for a September or October opening.
What inspired you to bring open this kind of restaurant?
Well, we moved here with the intention of opening a restaurant, and noticed a glaring absence of good Chinese food, that inspired our concept for sure. The food we're making is Chinese with Southern influences - we're not really rigid about style. Our signature dish is a deep fried half a chicken with a General Tso-type sauce [General Lee's chicken] and of course the Kung Pao pastrami. We plan on changing a lot of the menu seasonally, as well.
What's been your process implementing Red's Chinese?
We did pop-ups for the first couple of months and then found the building and started working on it in May. We haven't been able to keep doing the pop-up though, since we're doing most of the renovations ourselves. We just don't have the time after all that. We're really pleased about how it's looking, how it's coming along. In this space, now we have a deep fryer and a wok, which gives us a little more freedom to cook what we want to cook.
We're also planning on having a full liquor license. It's possible we might have to open without it, be a BYO for a little bit before it comes through, but hopefully it will all work out so we have it when we open for business.
What brought you to the space on St. Claude?
We wanted to stay in the same neighborhood where the pop-up was, and also, we live in the Bywater. We live right around the corner from the restaurant, it's gonna be the easiest commute ever. But we had passed by the building so many times, and looked through the windows and saw it already had a stove hood, so it had been a commercial kitchen before. We spoke to one of the residents who lived in a rental unit in the building and he put us in touch with the landlord, and it all worked out from there.
What brought you to New Orleans in the first place?
We've been here for about a year, we moved down here from New York, and came here for the weather, the affordability, and the food. Tobias has been a chef for about 15 years now, cooking in New York, on the West Coast, and in Asia. I went to culinary school in Paris, then came back to the US and worked as a catering chef, a bartender, a server.... basically everything I could so I could learn all the aspects of opening my own restaurant. That's always been my goal.