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Alex and Kevin Pemoulie Planning Mean Sandwich Shop for Summer

The Momofuku alums closed their respected Jersey City restaurant in November.

Kevin and Alex Pemoulie at Thirty Acres
Kevin and Alex Pemoulie at Thirty Acres
Cathy Miller

This is an exciting one. Seattle native Alex Pemoulie has returned to the area with her husband, Kevin, and the two are scouting locations for Mean Sandwich, a neighborhood shop they're hoping to open by summer. The pair are looking at renting a space in Ballard or Wallingford, near where they currently live with their young daughter.

Here's the important backstory: The Pemoulies closed their prominent Jersey City restaurant, Thirty Acres, in November, with the intent of moving to Seattle and opening something more low key.

Thirty Acres "just sort of ran its course," Kevin, the chef, told Eater New York back in October. That restaurant was completely different from what the couple intend for Mean Sandwich; Thirty Acres focused on creative small plates and tasting menus at its 32-seat establishment.

"It wasn't financially stable, or the type of thing where we could sustain our family life with our new daughter. That's probably for a lot of reasons. Maybe the timing wasn't right. Maybe Jersey City didn't want us, or we didn't want them at the right time. There's no negative here whatsoever. We're really, really happy to move on," Kevin said of the closure.

Kevin brings an impressive background, having been the longtime chef de cuisine at David Chang's Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City. There, he helped the restaurant develop its famous Korean-Southern fried chicken dinner. Alex, meanwhile, was Momofuku's director of finance. Thirty Acres opened in 2012 and earned rave reviews from Eater critic Ryan Sutton as well as New York Times critic Pete Wells.

With Mean Sandwich, Alex says, "We're going for a neighborhood, laidback vibe. It will be very different from Thirty Acres. We loved that restaurant, but we really wanted to return to Seattle. We're excited for a new thing to do, and we're both really obsessed with sandwiches. It gives us such a cool outlet for our creativity that's different and fun but doesn't take itself too seriously."

Mean Sandwich will offer dine-in, take-out, and delivery options, and kids will most certainly be welcome. Eater will post more information as the Pemoulies nail down a location and an opening date.

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