Dining Out

Young Mother

A Korean and Japanese Pop-Up in Richmond, Virginia

Korean-Japanese fusion dish served at Young Mother
Written by Stephanie Ganz, Images courtesy of Nick Hancock

Young Mother isn’t a place, at least not yet. For now, Young Mother is a concept that lives in the mind of Richmond-based chef Daniel Harthausen. Harthausen began popping up under the Young Mother moniker in 2021 at Adarra, a Basque-influenced restaurant whose bar Harthausen managed. Young Mother quickly amassed a following that sold out the sporadic pop-ups almost as soon as they were announced. For Harthausen, the concept is deeply personal, drawing on his experience as a Korean American trying to make sense of his heritage and his place in the world.

“As a Korean American, when I’m in Korea, I’m an American person; when I’m in America, I’m a Korean person,” Harthausen explains. “So a lot of it was [asking], how do I translate this next step of what it means to be Korean American in 2023 and progress that.” At a recent pop-up at the yet-to-open wine shop Penny’s in Richmond’s Jackson Ward, the roughly 20-seat dining room crackled with an electric excitement. Each guest was keenly aware of their luck to score a seat after Harthausen’s win on the HBO Max reality show The Big Brunch, which rocketed the 27-year-old chef to a new rung of celebrity. As Harthausen made his way through the dining room to signal the start of the dinner, guests rose from their seats to shyly request a selfie together and to ask when his restaurant will open. Harthausen says he’s moving steadily toward that goal.

“I think there are ways for me to carry the momentum I’m comfortable with, but when it comes to the restaurant and growing the business in that way, my main focus is on the product and the space,” Harthausen says. “Trying to make sure the guest experience is the number one thing, because that’s what’s gotten me to this point, is huge for me.”

Harthausen’s vision for Young Mother is of a 50-to-60-seat restaurant that includes a casual, bar-centric main dining room where guests can gather to enjoy a meandering evening of Korean-and Japanese-inspired dishes, plus a more secluded dining area where the chef can devote his energy to an exceptional guest experience. It’s months away, as Harthausen continues to look at properties and hone his business plan, but in the meantime, potential guests can hop on the waiting list for semi-regular Young Mother pop-ups at various locations around Richmond.

As of November 2023, Harthausen annouced on social media that he will be opening a brick and mortar restaurant at the Carytown Cupcakes space in 2024.

Get Young Mother’s Pickled Perilla Leaf Recipe

Pickled Perilla Leaf dish served at Young Mother

about this restaurant

  • Chef

    Daniel Harthausen

  • Address

    3111 West Cary Street
    Richmond, Virginia

    • Korean

    • Japanese

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