Nomsters, for those of you looking for a killer chicken sandwich in the DMV, Wooboi is the word. We had the opportunity to chat with chef-owner Michael Choi so be excited – today’s post should be absolutely delightful. Learn more about his beginnings, new menu offerings and more.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Michael, the chef and owner of Wooboi. I’ve lived on the East coast my whole life. I went to Fairfax high school then the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. I worked at the Four seasons hotel and gained experience as a line cook there.
I started Wooboi in Herndon when I was 23 and opened the restaurant on my 24th birthday. We are completely family run and operated. I love anime, so I based my menu off of my favorite shows, ‘Power levels’ ‘Thousand Sunny.’
What inspired you to open Wooboi, and can you give us some more background regarding your concept?
I wanted to prove my capabilities as a chef and owner to myself, family and peers. I knew if I put my skills and talent to the test, I could consistently make the food better and better! We are still only 2 years in and I am still improving the recipe to this day. We’ve really come a long way.
What was R&D like for your new menu? What inspired this change?
R&D’s always exciting! It has never been about the money or success for me, but the reactions I get from people enjoying the food I prepare. I decided it was time for change! I wanted to get rid of pork from my menu entirely and focus on chicken! We are Halal so it made sense for us to do this! But for our pork fans, we have some new menu items that you’ll be really excited about.
Do you have any other concepts in the making? And do you have further plans to expand?
Yes I do! But it’s in the early stages of development so I’ll have to keep it a secret for now.
What have some challenges been as a small business owner?
To be brutally honest, it’s been really tough. Not only has it been slower than usual, but food prices have skyrocketed. As a chef, I take my ingredients very seriously. And speaking with the suppliers and farmers, it has been tough for everyone, but I’m hopeful that we will all figure something out together.
What’s #1 bestseller at Wooboi?
Our best seller is either the tenders or the sando!
And can YOU take the heat of your spiciest chicken sandwich?
Not at all! Code Blue’s more of a prank you pull on your friends. It’s hard to take even two bites because of how spicy it is.
For the record, we’ve tried code blue and survived. It wasn’t easy, and it may or may not have been low key painful…but we survived. That’s a story for another day though! For now, let’s focus on the 3 new menu items available at their Alexandria location.
So here’s what we got:
- The Barahona: a delicious grilled cheese chicken sando…you literally got 2 grilled cheese sammies as buns…
- The Thousand Sunny: an epic double breast sammie stuffed with cheese and onion (!!!!!)
- The Junior: a mini sando topped with pickles and ciderslaw
The Barahona’s basically an instagram dream come true because who wouldn’t want to photograph a chicken sando with two grilled cheeses as buns. The Thousand Sunny’s a must for those of you looking to up your protein intake – their chicken’s huge as is, and with this creation you get TWO as buns. And last but not least, you have the Junior.
This is PERFECT for those of you looking for something a little smaller. Their regular sando’s pretty substantial, so this is a great option for kids or those of you who just want a smaller fix.
Alright Nomsters, that’s a wrap for today. A huge thanks to chef Michael for taking the time to chat with us! Make sure you stop by his Alexandria, VA location to get your grub on, and let us know what you think of his new menu items by leaving us a comment below. For more on VA eats, click here and give us a follow on instagram!