1. Kickstarter Party! It took us 122 backers to hit our goal. Now that we have the money covered, let's invite more people to the party. If we hit 244 backers (even if it's $1/person) before time expires, EVERYONE will be invited to a special pre-opening cocktail party, just for Kickstarter backers. Spread the word!
2. New Dish! If we hit $17,000 before time expires, we'll take the extra money and develop a new dish inspired by the Kickstarter process. Every backer will receive one for free. Even better if it's served at the above party!
When I used to crave good Chinese food on the fly, I would stop and lament the fact that I couldn't find a healthy option. When I gave in to the craving, my body would be angry with me a few hours later. So whenever I had the energy, I'd just make it myself -- and it tasted good. The idea behind Zai Lai is really simple:
Use quality ingredients to make healthy Chinese food!
And I started to dream: What if we used organic and local produce? What if the meats were antibiotic-free and raised with care? What if we ran the restaurant sustainably and welcomed our gluten-free and vegan friends?
I didn't have the courage to take the plunge alone. Then my friends began encouraging me: "You're not crazy for going for it." One of them designed the logo. Another shot the video. My wife wouldn't let me quit. This idea isn't just about me anymore. It's about a whole community coming together to make something awesome -- won't you join us?
Money raised in this campaign will launch a pop-up version of Zai Lai Grille in April with the hope that an initial run will lead to more pop-ups and attract investors to make a brick-and-mortar location a reality.
"Zai Lai" means "come again" in Mandarin. In Chinese culture, people say "zai lai" the same way that we might say "see you later." As a kid visiting my family in Asia, the experience was so good, I always wanted to go back. My goal is to pass that same feeling to you: that you would eat your fill, love the experience, and then come again (hopefully bringing a friend or two).
I'm focusing on traditional Chinese dishes remixed for a New York context:
Each dish is carefully crafted to satisfy your craving while energizing your body.
I've been catering in NYC for years and trained at the Hilton in my younger days. I helped Jehangir Mehta (Runner Up: Next Iron Chef, 2009) start his second restaurant, Mehtaphor. Plus, I'm a small business lawyer. Didn't expect that last one, did you?
With Your Support..
...we can reimagine Chinese food for our generation.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and for making a pledge to help make the Zai Lai pop-up a reality. If you are looking to join a pool of initial investors in Zai Lai Chinese Grille, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Green Chinese Food!
Chef / Founder
Video Credit: Yvonne Yu
Photo Credit: Brie Passano
Risks and challenges
We've spent the last few months setting up the pop-up and working out kinks, but we anticipate that there may still be some challenges along the way. Among them:
Location and Launch Date: We're currently in talks with potential spaces, but are yet to ink a contract. We're pretty close and confident that we'll be ready to go in April, but there's always a chance that things take longer than expected.
Menu Offerings: We're super excited about each menu item, but as we fine-tune our dishes, slight changes may be made. We'll only make changes that enhance the dishes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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