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An agent of alternatives, Erik Bruner-Yang creates space. Through his Washington, D.C.-based concept development company, Foreign National, he offers an alternative: food and space as commons. There exists a constant dialogue of community, culture and progress.
Bruner-Yang’s restaurants are instinctual; contemporary yet habitual, including Maketto, a three-level Asian market with a retail store, coffee shop, and restaurant; and at the LINE DC hotel – Brothers and Sisters, serving American classics from Taiwanese and Japanese points of view; and Spoken English, a standing-room-only space modeled after Japanese tachinomiyas. While Spoken English is temporarily closed in response to the pandemic, he has opened Cafe Spoken in the interim, inspired by Japanese kissatens, featuring coffee and Japanese comfort food (onigiri, Napolitan pasta. His restaurants have received numerous accolades, from Bon Appetit magazine’s 50 Best New Restaurants 2018; to Thrillist’s Best New Restaurants 2018 and RAMMY’s Best New Restaurant 2019 for Spoken English.
Born in Taiwan and raised in the States, Bruner-Yang has been credited for introducing D.C. to ramen in 2011 with Toki Underground. He is a multi-James Beard finalist, and was named Starchefs’ Rising Star D.C. Restaurateur 2018. His latest collaboration is Italian & Asian restaurant ABC Pony and Yoko & Kota noodles & dumplings located at The Roost in DC.
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