Top Chef winner chef Paul Qui is closing Qui, the beloved restaurant he opened with money he won on the Bravo television show in 2012. Qui says he's transforming the restaurant into a new venture named Kuneho, as reported by Statesman. He says that closing the restaurant is a way refocus his efforts after his well-publicized arrest earlier this year on assault charges, which he admitted had affected his restaurants financially.
Kuneho is Tagalog for 'rabbit,' which stems from Qui’s iconic Rabbit 7 Ways dish. The concept is described as a "return to the quest that defined his drive at Uchi and Uchiko: creating the perfect bite." It will also include a cocktail bar called Rabbit Hole. The restaurant Qui will hold its last day of service on September 3, and Kuneho will open in November.
After the March arrest, Qui entered rehabilitation, and came back quietly to his restaurants (Qui, East Side King, Thai Kun, Otoko) a month later. He talked in depth about that time of his life with the Statesman and what happened the evening of the arrest, and why he needed to reconfigure the restaurant. He said:
I need to make amends in all parts of my life. There’s no question about that, and I’ll do whatever it takes to express that to people [...] I don’t expect anything out of it, I just want them to know that this is who I am.
Qui the restaurant has changed quite a bit this year. It got rid of both of its ticketed and regular tasting menus, opting for a general a la carte option, in April. Qui’s other projects, East Side King and East Side King Thai Kun, closed two of the trucks this year as well. Thai Kun opened its first brick and mortar within the Domain in February. Qui is also involved with intimate Japanese eatery Otoko, helmed with sushi chef Yoshi Okai.
- Fall from the Top [Statesman]
- Exclusive: Paul Qui to close namesake restaurant, reopen with new concept [Statesman]
- Chef Paul Qui Arrested on Assault Charges [EATX]