David Chang’s restaurant Majordomo donated all of its profits on Friday after one of its investors threw a fundraiser for President Donald Trump the same day.
The menu at the Chinatown restaurant featured a section saying profits would be donated to charities including Planned Parenthood, RAICES, Everytown and Sierra Club. A diner at the restaurant Friday evening said a server confirmed the move was done in response to the fundraiser held the same day by billionaire Stephen Ross, a real estate developer and the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Ross is the chairman of RSE Ventures, a private investment firm that is one of the backers of Chang’s restaurant group.
Those same charities also will receive money from Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar. In an email newsletter Monday, the Manhattan restaurant said: “Throughout the month, a portion of proceeds from sales will be donated to City Harvest as well as these organizations that support causes we care about: Everytown, Planned Parenthood, RAICES Texas, Sierra Club and the Serge Ibaka Foundation.”
It was unclear whether other Momofuku restaurants participated and how much was donated. A call to Majordomo’s manager on Saturday was not returned, and a Momofuku spokeswoman declined to comment Monday afternoon.
Chang addressed the investor controversy last week during a six-minute, expletive-laced podcast episode, in which the chef implored Ross to cancel the fundraiser.
“I personally am a staunch opponent to President Trump and everything he stands for,” he said on “The Dave Chang Show.” “Anyone that normalizes gun violence, white supremacy, putting kids into cages, his general lack of decency and respect for anyone else. He is destroying our democratic norms.”
Chang said he understood that the business relationship “raises a lot of questions for the people who dine at our restaurants and supported us over the years.”
“I won’t sugarcoat the situation or pander to you with an explanation of the realities of restaurants and modern finances and the complexities of investing and all that,” Chang said. “As a person in general, I just always want to be on the right side of the moral fence.”
Momofuku was founded by Chang in 2004 with the opening of the noodle bar; the company has since grown to more than a dozen restaurants in New York, L.A., Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., as well as international locations. RSE Ventures became an investor in New York-based Momo Holdings three years ago, according to a regulatory filing.
Ross and his wife, jewelry designer Kara Ross, hosted Trump and donors at their home in Southampton, N.Y., on Friday; tickets cost up to $250,000 and the event, along with a second fundraiser that day, raised $12 million for the president’s reelection campaign. Ross is also the founder and chairman of the Related Cos., the parent company of Equinox and SoulCycle.
On his podcast, Chang addressed Ross directly, saying: “I respect and admire you as a businessman. You have been a champion of all the values of Momofuku. You’ve done a great deal for us as a company and I truly appreciate it.” But the fundraiser “contradicts what I hope to accomplish by taking your money in the first place.”
With roughly 3,000 people dining at his restaurants every day, Chang said his company must “realize that talk is cheap: We must show it in action.”