Chef Alex McCoy is bringing a version of Lucky Buns to Union Market this month, and he plans to add a few wrinkles that won’t be found at the popular late-night landing spot for dry-aged beef burgers and fried chicken sandwiches in Adams Morgan.
McCoy tells Eater that a condensed menu at the Union Market stall will include a “Mumbo bun,” a hot chicken sandwich with a Thai chile spin on D.C.’s signature sweet and sour mumbo sauce. The Mumbo bun will also have curtido — the fermented cabbage relish typically found on pupusas — buttermilk ranch, and Gordy’s pickles. Half-smoke chips are chili cheese fries loaded with the city’s iconic pork and beef sausage. McCoy, a Duke’s Grocery alum, says he’s also thinking about offering a full English breakfast for early risers, and adding some new sides.
Lucky Buns will slide into the stall of Kwame Onwuachi’s short-lived Philly Wing Fry. The Union Market menu will include burgers, fries, and hot chicken prepared with a fryer and flat top grill.
“We will see what we can effectively add,” McCoy says.
Washington City Paper first reported on McCoy’s foray into the food hall, which also includes opening a tiny Thai stand called Som Tam next to La Jambe. Both of McCoy’s stalls plan to open before the year is up.
Som Tam’s menu specializes in Isaan (Northeastern Thai) street foods. Think pounded salads that go heavy on green papaya, fish sauce, lime, and chiles; khao soi, a curry soup made with egg noodles; and khao gaeng curry rice.
WCP reports that Thai natives Lekki Limvatana and Satang Ruangsangwanata will oversee the Union Market stall. The pair were most recently cooking at the Fat Nomads Supper Club.
Som Tam will offer a five-seat tasting menu that reflects the cuisines of the various regions of Thailand. McCoy says reservations will be offered on “a very limited basis.”
The chef still plans to open a standalone Som Tam inside a former ATM vestibule in NoMa. Construction in the triangle-shaped space that abuts track lines will start soon. Like its chosen digs in Union Market, the setting in NoMa is supposed to mimic the bustle of street stalls in across Thailand. Patrons will be able to order at the window and take a seat outside along its palm-filled patio. The setup was originally supposed to open this month.
“It just doesn’t make sense for us to debut a stall that has no indoor seats and a beautiful dining garden in the middle of the winter,” he says. “So, by spring we will be open.”
Meanwhile, here’s look at a preliminary menu for Lucky Buns at Union Market:
Double creekstone beef patties, Gouda, Lucky sauce, arugula, grilled red onion, gordy’s pickles 15
Double creekstone beef patties, bacon XO jam, Gouda, Lucky sauce, arugula, grilled red onion, gordy’s pickles 15
El jefe bun
Double creekstone patties, Gouda, charred hatch chile relish, cotija crema, yellow mustard, shaved lettuce, red onion, gordys pickles 15
Double creekstone patties, Gouda, pickled beetroot, charred pineapple, runny egg, grilled onions, arugula 15
Double creekstone beef patties, Gouda, garlic mayonnaise, yellow mustard, shaved lettuce, red onion, gordys pickles 15
Double creekstone beef patties, Gouda cheese, pickled daikon, cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, garlic mayonnaise, maggi, fresh herbs 15
Hot tiger bun
Fried chicken, super hot af Sichuan chili mop, ranch mayonnaise, yellow mustard, white onion, gordys pickles 12
Fried Chicken, shark sriracha, shaved lettuce, lucky sauce, white onion, gordys pickles 12
Fried chicken, Thai chili Mumbo sauce, Curtido, buttermilk ranch, gordys pickles
Fried chicken, pickled daikon, cucumber, jalapeño, red onion, garlic mayonnaise, maggi, fresh herbs 12
Thick cut chips 8
Malt vinegar mayonnaise
Curry chips 8
Irish pub curry
Cheesy Chips 8
Hatch green chili queso, cotija, pickled Fresno’s
Half Smoke Chili Chips 9
Chili, half smoke, queso cheese