Flint, MI—MaMang’s last day of service will be Saturday, April 30, but fans of Flint’s beloved Vietnamese eatery need not worry about their “Wu-Tang” wing supply disappearing after that.
“For me, it’s just a natural evolution,” said Tony Vu, owner of MaMang. “They’re not really separate. It’s just MaMang evolving into Flint Social Club.”
Flint Social Club, founded by Vu, is a program that looks to lower barriers and offer business support and mentorship for Flint’s chef-entrepreneurs. Vu has organized pop-up events and night markets for its vendors over the past few years, but had not found a standing location for his organization until now.
At the end of April, Vu is closing his Flint Farmers’ Market restaurant to reopen it as a physical space for Flint Social Club vendors on May 5, 2022.
He promised staples of MaMang’s current menu—think dumplings and “Wu-Tang” wings—will remain available, but otherwise the stall will operate as “part teaching kitchen, part pop-up location” for cohorts of Flint Social Club chefs.
“Flint has such an amazingly passionate, talented community of chefs,” said Vu. “I’m really, really excited to be able to see what comes out of this platform, to see the experience, to eat the food, and just work with people and see everyone grow out of it all.”
This is not the first time Vu has publicized opening a space for Flint Social Club, something he acknowledged with slight frustration but a warm smile.
Vu estimates he’s been looking for a location for at least three years while hosting affiliated events around Flint. He said after his last deal fell through on a potential location near Chevy Commons, he decided the best place to open FSC was right where it began.
“It just made natural sense for me to do the stall at the MaMang space,” Vu said. “That’s where Flint Social Club was born.”
Despite moving MaMang to a new stall and expanding its menu just last year, Vu said he felt the time was now to be “more intentional” about his goals for Flint Social Club. The pandemic forced him to hone his vision, and although it was a tough decision, he said he feels like prioritizing FSC is the right one.
“I couldn’t help but know that—even though I could do it and still keep (MaMang) going—that my heart was in a different place. It was with Flint Social Club.”
To that end, Vu has hired an executive chef, Chef Nate Shaw, to help him guide the first cohort of vendors for the soon-to-be Flint Social Club stall. He said he expects vendor pop-ups to happen mostly on Saturdays to begin with, but that plan may evolve.
“It’s a new operation, so we just kind of want to get everything comfortable, especially with the vendors that we’re working with as well,” he said. “And then as time goes on, we would look to program other days of the week.”
Vu has high hopes for the success of Flint Social Club, for which he said he will continue looking for a permanent brick-and-mortar location while operating out of the Flint Farmers’ Market.
For now though, he remains grateful for Flint—“the best place to have a dream,” he said— and the whole Flint community.
“I started with no experience, it was just this experiment based off of my travels and this love for my food. … And having the support of the community to help to find that success and build everything up to the point where we are now? It was amazing,” Vu said. “I just felt like that’s something that I wanted to be able to help and provide the community with as well.”
Flint Social Club’s first day of operation will be Thursday, May 5, 2022. Vu said visitors to his newly-minted stall can expect tacos during market hours and an event at Market Tap (in partnership with the Latinx Technology & Community Center) later that night.
More information will be posted to Flint Social Club’s social media accounts as it becomes available.