Ep 13: Growing beyond the kitchen to create a lifestyle brand with Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto
Erik Bruner-Yang, owner and head chef of DC Based Restaurants Toki Underground and Maketto, talks about finding his place among the DC food scene, celebrating the importance of the neighborhood ramen shop and expanding his brand to something beyond the kitchen.
Erik, a celebrated Washington DC chef, began his District career as the General Manger of Sticky Rice in 2008. Having worked in restaurants since the age of 15, Erik ventured out two years later to sign the lease for a small, second story space on H Street that would eventually become Toki Underground. Since opening Toki, Erik has been named a finalist for a James Beard award and opened Maketto Marketplace and Honeycomb Grocer. Completed this past April, Maketto creatively blends food, coffee and retail into a large, multi level space made possible through communal investment on FundRise.
In this episode, we talk to Erik about the bootstrap effort it took to get Toki off the ground, both the generational and cultural inspiration behind his work in the kitchen and striking a balance between family and work as a first time father.
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For anything I do, it's not really about me making more money, it's about creating something that has creative, intrinsic value.
It took a really unique group of people [Fundrise] who were creating a new startup to want to put all their chips in on something like this.