Salt Bae is going bi-coastal. After Nusret Gökçe—the chef-butcher who has become more internet meme than human—opened his first restaurant Stateside in Miami, then took New York and Instagram by storm with his Midtown Manhattan steakhouse Nusr-Et, he revealed to the New York Post that he’s secured a space for a new restaurant in Los Angeles. “We’ve already signed a lease for our first Salt Bae in Los Angeles—Soho is next,” Gökçe told the tabloid.
Angelenos may not get the full experience of Gökçe’s sensual salt sprinkling on the West Coast though. The social media star isn’t opening another steakhouse; he’s planning a burger chain, which he’ll call Salt Bae. It may debut as early as this fall.
At Nusr-Et Steakhouse, Gökçe currently serves a $30 burger—sans theatrical tableside seasoning—topped with cheese and onions that’s sliced in half and grilled again for some reason. Salt Bae says his burger joint will have a lower price point than Nusr-Et, but it won’t be fast casual like Shake Shack. There will be table service, and the 4,000-square-foot space he’s landed in LA already has a liquor license.
Gökçe joins a parade of chefs flocking to La-La Land to expand their empire—from David Chang with Majordomo, to Daniel Humm with NoMad, to Jessica Largey of Manresa fame preparing to open Simone. However, he’s not nearly as acclaimed as those names, that’s for sure.
The critics haven’t exactly been fans of the meat served at the Turkish steakhouse, and the health department certainly hasn’t been a supporter, telling Gökçe that if he wanted to do his signature meat slicing and seasoning for customers, he needed to put on some gloves to avoid a health code violation. Of course, the salt also cascades off his forearm and elbow, so maybe some New York City bureaucrats will force him to wear a hazmat suit to stay in compliance with the law. That would probably cause a social media sensation too.