UPDATE: Maybe Don’t Go To This Shady Restaurateur’s New Bushwick Diner

Maybe Don't Go To This Former East Village Creep's New Bushwick Diner

We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news? A 24-hour diner–slash–music venue is set to open near the Morgan L stop next month. The bad news? It’ll be run by a 48-year-old guy who, according to reports, was known for wrestling college kids in a kiddie pool full of Jell-O inside his former East Village restaurant.

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Chang Han, restaurateur and self-described “professional party guy” plans to open Amancay’s Diner at 2 Knickerbocker Avenue next month, a 24-hour diner and music venue, where there’ll be live music, reggae and Puerto Rican nights and open mics every night,  DNAinfo reports. For food, there’ll be “Bushwick-ified” versions of burgers, tacos, soup and salads made with from scratch with organic ingredients. Sounds good, right?

It wouldn’t be Bushwick, however if there weren’t a gimmick involved. Han’s is this: In the back of Amancay’s, there’ll be a table surrounded by a red leather booth that’s solely for playing Spin the Bottle, presumably with Han, who “recalled playing the kissing game with four college students every Monday at his closed East Village restaurant Gama.” Han also said he used to “get drunk with a lot of girls” at St. Mark’s Market, the grocery and deli he owned for 10 years (which, sure, isn’t shocking for the restaurant industry), and also allegedly wrestled with 21-year-olds at Gama, about which he says, “I was getting my ass kicked.”

Han’s affinity for young women was such that a friend even illustrated a logo for him—an owl with a top hat and the phrase “Sexy enough for Chang”—which will be painted on a wall at Amancay’s Diner and printed on tank tops.

Although we can’t seem to find any reports that back up Han’s claims about himself, DNAinfo did link to the above Facebook photo, in which Chang Han can be seen wrestling in a kiddie pool full of Jell-O with a young woman, surrounded by onlookers. However, none of Gama’s former Yelp reviewers claimed to have been witness to anything of the sort. And when Grub Street reported on Gama’s opening in 2006, the only descriptor of Han was “bearded, ponytailed bon vivant.”

So, sure, go to Amancay’s Diner. Party with the dude, and hell, you’ll probably have a great time. And then, let us know what you find out. We’ll be busy doing literally anything else.

UPDATE: Music booker Ric Leichtung gave us even sadder news, via email:

something cool to add to your about the perv mansion on 2 knickerbocker– it used to be Living Bread Deli, which was a makeshift concert venue AdHoc used to throw shows at :'(

Good times.

Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa.

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26 COMMENTS

  1. As one of the young female college students that used to frequent Gama Bar, I find this article offensively inaccurate! You forgot to mention that we also wrestled his midgit friend “Mini Chang” and that the door money went to a charity to save the pandas. Oh and before the jello started the bar was transformed into a skate park with a quarter pipe, then after the jello there was a group of African dancers from Senegal. And you failed to mention epic “Melon Bowling” games at his grocery store across the street, using water bottles, melons and the store aisles. Nights at Gama Bar were the highlight of village nightlife. Yes Chang was always surrounded by young sexy ladies, but that’s because he was the coolest dude around, threw the best parties, and hot girls always felt comfortable around him and he has a super awesome wife that loves him for his crazy shenanigans. I even brought my mother to Gama Bar where Chang treated us to an amazing dinner. We were all so sad when he sold Gama. Best nights in the village, I can’t wait to go to his new place!

  2. Difference between bloggers and journalist – due dilagence. Yes why bother learning about Chang Han and all the work he’s done for artist and charities?

  3. I’ve known Chang for years, and we go to each others’ parties all the time (his are better). This bit of lazy pseudo-journalism will undoubtedly help his business rather than hurt it, but the reality is, he is a sweet man who likes to throw great parties. The potentially tittilating details are more innocent than represented here. But still fun as fuck.

    The reactionary predator police have apparently become bored with “reporting” secondhand Terry Richardson gossip. Get a real career.

  4. TRUST ME readers you will definitely want to go to Chang’s new place, because Gama was amazing and he was like the best guy around. A true staple of east village nightlife before it was invaded by hipsters. In addition to that TRUST ME you will be glad that the uninformed hack who wrote this slanderous piece will be doing “anything else” – because who would want to hang out with someone as idiotic as her.

    Stay balling and pay no mind to this hater Chang, so glad you’re up and running again!

  5. I am actually glad this article came out. Keep out the riff raff. Chang AKA Changaulf is a legend among mortals and always put everyone else’s enjoyment above all. I cant thank him enough for many memorable nights and been anticipating the rebirth of the Pheonix for years.

  6. “We’ll be busy doing anything else?” Who is “we?” How can you slander a man you have never met in person?

  7. Chang Han is kinda a nutso idiot and lacks some business sense, but he is a nice guy and isn’t a perv like the article makes him out to be.

  8. I’m with the article…dude is a straight scumbag…I was with a girl who I was with when Gama was still around and I was 24 and my girl was 21…this scum straight up goes to her in front of me and says with a straight face “you should leave this guy and party with me, I’ll show you a good time.” I know for a fact that he sleeps around with these younger girls that he hangs out with, not sure if the wife is in the know or not…hope this place fails

    • I second what DeeDee said: Go back to your little town and take all your yuppie friends from middle America who have infested Downtown and Brooklyn with you.

      • Agreed. Chang is a really generous, non-threatening, fun-loving dude who happens to be surrounded by beautiful women on their own accord because of the aforementioned attributes.

        According to your account, he had the chutzpah to proposition your girlfriend in your presence. Per your awkwardly constructed sentence, I assume that you’re no longer with said woman, correct? Does this mean that said “scumbag” was, in fact, victorious in his pursuit of your lady? I’m getting the pangs of jealously, John…

    • Agreed. Chang is a really generous, non-threatening, fun-loving dude who happens to be surrounded by beautiful women on their own accord because of the aforementioned attributes.

      According to your account, he had the chutzpah to proposition your girlfriend in your presence. Per your awkwardly constructed sentence, I assume that you’re no longer with said woman, correct? Does this mean that said “scumbag” was, in fact, victorious in his pursuit of your lady? I’m getting the pangs of jealously, John…

  9. You spelled “restaurateur” wrong more than once, and I’m pretty sure the versions of the food would be “Bushwick-ified” rather than “Buckwick-ified.”

    Do you even have an editor?

  10. Since when did New York become full of prudes and killjoys who frowned on a little sleazy sex? If you bluestockings don’t like a little dirty fun, move the fuck back to Amherst or wherever the fuck you’re from and leave the mutually exploitative kinks to those of us who can handle it. Your judgemental bullshit is killing what’s left of Old New York as surely as gentrification. Fuck you.

  11. Whoever wrote this article maybe should have interviewed Chang before writing this piece. I’ve know Chang for numerous years and frequently visited and hung out at Gama when it was open. Chang is one of the most awesome and decent people I’ve known. The person who wrote this article seems bored with their life and want to hate on people that enjoy theirs.

  12. Sorry the place seems annoying But sine NYU babies are moving to the hood now they can go there and stay there instead of barfing all over the bar of my favorite bars.

  13. UPDATE: I’m MAYBE going to stop reading BK Mag unless they never post one of these “opinion editorials” from this extremely novice writer ever again.

    Rebecca Jennings, you literally have an audience of thousands of New Yorkers and you choose to write a slander piece about a small business owner because he likes to party with adults that are younger than he is? Isn’t there something else you could ask people to boycott other than a diner? I realize you’re just out of school but grow up. This is stuff you should be posting on your Facebook status, not in a respectable media outlet. Step up and be a journalist, and stop writing like you’re a little kid.

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