The celebrated team behind New York Thai restaurant Uncle Boons has announced they will be opening another dining concept in Nolita this spring; chefs Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, the duo behind popular eateries including Michelin-starred Uncle Boons and takeout spot Uncle Boons Sister, are broaching an entirely new venture, which this time won’t centre around Thai cuisine. The couple are still to reveal all the details of the new spot, having not yet confirmed the name or the menu focus of their latest endeavour.
The new restaurant space is located at 186 Mott Street, formerly home to Sosta, which closed last November. Based on the triumph of Uncle Boons, this new project is hotly anticipated. The husband-and-wife team opened Uncle Boons in 2013, and it swiftly became a busy downtown destination known for its distinct take on Thai food. Countless rave reviews, a Michelin star and several years later, the eatery is still one of the most buzzed about restaurants in NYC. The chefs later opened an American, diner-inspired restaurant called Mr. Donahue’s in the same neighbourhood in 2016 but turned it into Uncle Boons Sister a year later.
Redding was born in Thailand, but came to Thai cooking in a roundabout way. Her first job was at her mother’s friend’s restaurant. She was 14, a waitress, and wasn’t particularly good at it. Redding was sure she wanted to cook though. Born in Ubon Ratchathani, she grew up between Thailand and the Philippines, eventually moving with her family to the United States. She studied at the Institute of Culinary Education before taking her first cooking jobs at places such as Amuse, Jewel Bako, La Esquina, and Per Se, which she joined several weeks after its opening.
Cooking at Per Se not only helped Redding fill out an already crowded résumé, it introduced her to future husband and business partner, Matt Danzer. Born and raised on the North Fork of Long Island, Danzer is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. One of Danzer’s first jobs out of culinary school was with celebrated American chef Thomas Keller, which found Danzer working at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. When Keller opened his New York flagship Per Se, Danzer followed back to New York, arriving just in time for the restaurant’s opening.
Interestingly, when Redding and Danzer first decided to open a restaurant together, they didn’t initially go in a Thai direction. Instead, they ran a local produce store and café on Shelter Island. It was this type of seasonal work which allowed Redding to take Danzer to Thailand during slow winters. These trips were the inspiration for Uncle Boons. Named after Redding’s uncle, the restaurant isn’t a region-specific or academically nuanced study in Thai cuisine, but rather, it’s Thai cooking the way Redding, and now Danzer, love it. Consistently paying great attention to detail and respecting their produce, the couple have proved their ability to create a wonderfully memorable dining experience. Redding and Danzer’s new Nolita concept is set to launch in late spring, so stay tuned.
Feature image via Uncle Boons