Swedish Chef Nils Noren earned a coveted Michelin Star working at KB restaurant in Stockholm and was recruited to New York City by Marcus Samuelsson, where he’s made a huge mark in the restaurant industry.
He was hired as Chef de Cuisine at Aquavit, a two Michelin Star Scandinavian restaurant in the Park Avenue Tower on 55th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
He’s helmed a number of restaurants and became a major executive in the food industry, but his latest effort has been described as his most “unique culinary concept to date.”
He opened the Ban Ban Shop in March on Manhattan’s Upper West Side near Columbia University. It’s a fast casual concept restaurant featuring Southeast Asian cuisine.
“We want guests to come in and enjoy really flavorful food in a fun setting that is different from your traditional fast casual restaurant,” says Noren.
“The food and flavors are inspired by my extensive travels and work in Asia, as well as my wife’s Chinese heritage.
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we are very passionate about delivering a great experience for every guest whether they are dining in or out of the store,” he says.
Signature menu items include customizable Bahn Mi style sandwiches, steamed buns, grain bowls, rice bowls and salads with proteins including Five Spiced Roast Pork, Shrimp, Crispy Lemongrass Flounder, Roast Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potato and Organic Tofu.
The customizable menu options provide guests with the option for a variety of eating preferences including vegan and gluten free.
The menu also features sides that include Chicken Noodle Soup, roasted vegetables and spicy slaw.
Prices run from $12 to $14.
Noren wants the Ban Ban Shop to be a cut above casual dining outlets, and it shows in the interior design. The 24-seat dining area is high-concept and the restaurant features outdoor dining, as well.
Noren rose to Executive Chef at Aquavit before becoming Vice President of Operations for the company’s portfolio of over 20 national and international restaurants.
He also serves as Vice President of Culinary and Pastry Arts at the International Culinary Centre (ICC) and has built a media career on the Emmmy winning TV show “Top Chef.”
He has also appeared as a judge on the Emmy Award winning TV show “Top Chef” and on the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.” He is currently the Managing Director for Red Rooster Harlem and August Restaurant among other hospitality related businesses.
Ban Ban Shop
Location: 2911 Broadway, New York, NY 10023.
Open daily from 11:00am to 8:00pm.
Check out the Ban Ban Shop website for more information and to view the full menu.