Sophie Bolich

The Buddha Lounge May Return

'The Buddha spirit hasn't died,' says former manager of east-side restaurant he hopes to revive at new location.

By - Sep 13th, 2022 12:49 pm
Site of former Buddha Lounge. Photo taken Sept. 12, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of former Buddha Lounge. Photo taken Sept. 12, 2022 by Sophie Bolich.

When Buddha Lounge closed in 2018, it left off with this message: “Each morning we are born again. It is what we do today that matters most.” Often falsely attributed to Buddha himself, the quote nonetheless embodies the Buddhist teaching to live in the present.

Four years later, David Alan Mouradian, a former manager of the restaurant, is upholding that same principle — prioritizing hard work and a centered mindset  — as he prepares to relaunch Buddha Lounge.

“The Buddha spirit hasn’t died, it’s just changing a little bit,” Mouradian said.

Buddha Lounge originally opened in 2015 at 1504 E. North Ave., next to UWM’s Cambridge Commons. The fusion restaurant served American and southeast Asian-inspired dishes like pot stickers, spring rolls, pho and pad thai.

Mouridian’s new concept would bring back an abbreviated version of that same menu. Nothing is set in stone yet, said Mouradian, but pho, a customer-favorite, will definitely make a comeback, he said.

Mouradian and his business partner are searching for a space to open either a carryout and delivery version of Buddha Lounge or a new restaurant, depending on the cost of acquisition, he said, noting that he is also considering a food truck. The goal is to have some kind of establishment open by next spring.

In the meantime, a limited amount of Buddha Lounge t-shirts will be distributed within the next few weeks to build anticipation and awareness for the new venture. Updates will be posted to the Buddha Lounge Facebook page.

Mouradian said he and his partner have spent the past several years working outside of the industry and saving up funds for the business.

“I turned 65 years old a few days ago and I’m working harder now than I did before I retired,” he said. “It feels good.”

Mouradian originally intended to reacquire the former Buddha Lounge space, but the building sold in 2021 to developers for a four-story, 56-unit apartment building. The former Buddha Lounge structure and its neighboring buildings at 1518 and 1530 E. North Ave. are slated for demolition.

Before Buddha Lounge, the building at 1504 E. North Ave. saw quite a bit of turnover, with La Piazza, Glass Nickel Pizza and Clutch all serving brief stints between 2007 and 2015.

A piece of the old restaurant is still in use approximately one mile to the south. Nomad World Pub re-installed Buddha Lounge’s old patio at its location on Brady Street.

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