Richmond chef of HBO fame readies Young Mother restaurant in Carytown

daniel harthahusen levy Cropped

Harthausen with The Big Brunch host and Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy (Courtesy Warner Bros. Discovery)

Thanks in part to a win on a national cooking show, one of the rising stars of the Richmond dining scene is going brick-and-mortar. 

Daniel Harthausen is preparing to open a permanent version of his Young Mother pop-up in the current Carytown Cupcakes building at 3111 W. Cary St. 

Since 2021, Harthausen has been running Young Mother as a pop-up out of local spots like Restaurant Adarra, Pizza Bones and The Jasper, serving Korean and Japanese-influenced dishes. 

While the pop-ups helped him gain local notoriety, Harthausen gained a national following last year when he won the inaugural season of The Big Brunch, a cooking competition show on HBO Max.

He returned to Richmond with $300,000 in winnings from the show, but initially went back to work at Adarra, where he was the bar manager for the Oregon Hill-bound Spanish restaurant. 

Harthausen said he laid low upon his return to Richmond for two reasons. First, he had to keep the secret that he won the show for around eight months until The Big Brunch aired. 

“I was in (Los Angeles) for about a month and a half, and I came back and was still working my restaurant job, living paycheck to paycheck and trying to keep the Young Mother brand going once a month but with this like knowledge that I couldn’t tell anyone that I won this TV show,” he said. 

Second, while knowing all along that he wanted to open Young Mother full-time, he said he purposefully took his time on finding a spot, trying to make sure he didn’t burn out.  

“In all honesty, I wasn’t really ready to open a restaurant.…There was a lot of pressure up front: I had a lot of people that approached me, and a lot of people are really excited about me getting open,” Harthausen said. 

“So I delayed it not just for my own sanity, but also for the quality of the product. If I wasn’t able to deal with all the pressures and work of opening a restaurant at that point, it wasn’t going to help anybody,” he said. 

young mother carytown cupcakes

The new Korean restaurant is set to take over Carytown Cupcakes’ spot in the heart of Carytown (Mike Platania photo)

He eventually reconnected with The Jasper and Carytown Cupcake owner Kevin Liu, who helped him arrange a lease to take over the roughly 1,500-square-foot space that the confectionery has occupied since 2012. 

Young Mother will have seating for around 44, Harthausen said, and he hopes to eventually expand the dining room into the rear of the building for additional seating. 

Harthausen, who was born in South Korea but lived in Japan for a bit growing up, said Young Mother will stock plenty of Korean spirits and wines as well as Japanese sakes to accompany the food menu, which he said will be similar to the menus he rolled out for Young Mother as a pop-up.

“It’s a Korean restaurant first that pulls in inspiration from Japanese culture,” he said. 

Harthausen said he’s hoping to open Young Mother sometime in 2024, and that he’s putting some of his Big Brunch winnings toward the project. 

As for Carytown Cupcakes, Liu said he’s not quite ready to announce what will be next for the bakery once Young Mother opens. 

daniel harthahusen levy Cropped

Harthausen with The Big Brunch host and Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy (Courtesy Warner Bros. Discovery)

Thanks in part to a win on a national cooking show, one of the rising stars of the Richmond dining scene is going brick-and-mortar. 

Daniel Harthausen is preparing to open a permanent version of his Young Mother pop-up in the current Carytown Cupcakes building at 3111 W. Cary St. 

Since 2021, Harthausen has been running Young Mother as a pop-up out of local spots like Restaurant Adarra, Pizza Bones and The Jasper, serving Korean and Japanese-influenced dishes. 

While the pop-ups helped him gain local notoriety, Harthausen gained a national following last year when he won the inaugural season of The Big Brunch, a cooking competition show on HBO Max.

He returned to Richmond with $300,000 in winnings from the show, but initially went back to work at Adarra, where he was the bar manager for the Oregon Hill-bound Spanish restaurant. 

Harthausen said he laid low upon his return to Richmond for two reasons. First, he had to keep the secret that he won the show for around eight months until The Big Brunch aired. 

“I was in (Los Angeles) for about a month and a half, and I came back and was still working my restaurant job, living paycheck to paycheck and trying to keep the Young Mother brand going once a month but with this like knowledge that I couldn’t tell anyone that I won this TV show,” he said. 

Second, while knowing all along that he wanted to open Young Mother full-time, he said he purposefully took his time on finding a spot, trying to make sure he didn’t burn out.  

“In all honesty, I wasn’t really ready to open a restaurant.…There was a lot of pressure up front: I had a lot of people that approached me, and a lot of people are really excited about me getting open,” Harthausen said. 

“So I delayed it not just for my own sanity, but also for the quality of the product. If I wasn’t able to deal with all the pressures and work of opening a restaurant at that point, it wasn’t going to help anybody,” he said. 

young mother carytown cupcakes

The new Korean restaurant is set to take over Carytown Cupcakes’ spot in the heart of Carytown (Mike Platania photo)

He eventually reconnected with The Jasper and Carytown Cupcake owner Kevin Liu, who helped him arrange a lease to take over the roughly 1,500-square-foot space that the confectionery has occupied since 2012. 

Young Mother will have seating for around 44, Harthausen said, and he hopes to eventually expand the dining room into the rear of the building for additional seating. 

Harthausen, who was born in South Korea but lived in Japan for a bit growing up, said Young Mother will stock plenty of Korean spirits and wines as well as Japanese sakes to accompany the food menu, which he said will be similar to the menus he rolled out for Young Mother as a pop-up.

“It’s a Korean restaurant first that pulls in inspiration from Japanese culture,” he said. 

Harthausen said he’s hoping to open Young Mother sometime in 2024, and that he’s putting some of his Big Brunch winnings toward the project. 

As for Carytown Cupcakes, Liu said he’s not quite ready to announce what will be next for the bakery once Young Mother opens. 

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Bob quilez
Bob quilez
6 months ago

Fan-tastic news! We are so excited to welcome you and support!!

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
6 months ago

I’m excited for Daniel and Ive loved Young Mother’s pop-ups. For Carytown to land such a high quality chef who specializes in Korean and Japanese cuisines is major—can’t wait!

David Franke
David Franke
6 months ago

I’m very happy that it’s not another Taco shop and a Korean restaurant North of the river to boot!

Peter James
Peter James
6 months ago

Heartfelt Mazal Tov to Daniel!!! The accolades are much deserved – and I have no doubt his brick-and-mortar venture will be a rousing success!!

This is a great add to Carytown and to Richmond as a whole