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Dec 16, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘David Choi’

Seoul Taco will open new location in Chesterfield

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

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Seoul Taco continues to grow, and this time it’s headed to West County. The popular Korean-Mexican eatery will open its fifth location in Chesterfield at 46 Four Seasons Shopping Center later this fall. In addition to the Seoul Taco food truck and the original brick-and-mortar location in the Delmar Loop, Seoul Taco has locations in Columbia, Missouri; Champaign, Illinois and Chicago.

“I grew up out here,” owner David Choi said of Chesterfield. “More than anything, I’m familiar with the area, and there’s not much food like ours out here. We thought it’d be a good fit.”

Choi said the space, which used to be a Panera location, will seat approximately 100. Alex Morales of Smartmouth Design in Chicago will design the interior of the restaurant, and local company Shellback Iron Works will design the furniture.

“Having been an existing restaurant, [the space will] be easy to transition into what we do,” Choi said. “We’ll need to put in new hoods, but it’s nice that a lot of the plumbing and mechanicals are intact.” He said construction is scheduled to begin next week.

Choi said the Chesterfield menu will be basically the same as the other locations.

“We’ve been messing around with some menu concepts that we could add across the board,” he said. “Anytime we launch a new store, we review what we want to do with the menu. As of now there’s nothing concrete, but we’ll have a little bit of change. If we change in one, we like to change across the board.”

Choi said he hopes to open the doors in November, before the holiday season.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Seoul Taco rolls out second truck

The Scoop: Seoul Taco to open in Chicago

The Scoop: Seoul Q to move, Seoul Taco to expand

 

The Scoop: Seoul Taco rolls out second truck

Friday, June 24th, 2016

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Seoul Taco is on a roll this year. Owner David Choi opened the fourth Seoul Taco location in Chicago just three weeks ago, and announced today that a second food truck will hit the streets in STL this Monday, June 27. The popularity of the original truck at private events, food truck events and lunch service made a Seoul sister the most logical expansion step.

“The (food truck’s) whole summer was fully booked by February,” Choi said. “We’ve been to some really good lunch spots with the blue truck, but with our bookings could only make it to those places every other month.”

The menu at the new red truck will feature Choi’s signature Korean barbecue street food with the potential for some additional creativity. And that creativity is not confined to the menu: Choi has partnered with The St. Louis MetroMarket, a nonprofit mobile food market bringing fresh food to our city’s food deserts. On MetroMarket Mondays, all proceeds from the red Seoul Taco truck will benefit the mobile market.

“Relationships are so important,” Choi said. “The partnerships we have and being involved in the community is part of what’s helped us grow. It’s about connecting with people and the community.”

Weekly schedules for both Seoul Taco trucks will be announced Sundays on Twitter and on Seoul Taco’s website.

The Scoop: Seoul Taco to open in Chicago

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

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Northward expansion continues for Seoul Taco, as owner David Choi announced he’ll open a fourth location of the Korean-Mexican fast casual restaurant at 738 N. Clark St., in Chicago’s trendy, art-centric River North neighborhood.

“The River North neighborhood is a vibrant neighborhood,” Choi said. “People are moving back into that area, and we found a spot that I fell in love with.”

Choi said he hopes to open the 80-seat restaurant at the end of May, and its menu will feature the familiar tacos, bowls, burritos, quesadillas and nachos currently available at the other locations in St. Louis, Columbia, Missouri and Champaign, Illinois.

Choi has no immediate plans to open a fifth location, nor does he rule it out. “Things have been coming in waves,” he said. “If an opportunity comes, I’ll always look into it.”

For the moment, the search for a new location for Seoul Q is on hold, but Choi said he plans to resume the hunt after getting the Chicago location up and running.

Choi is not the only former food truck-only establishment heading north. Guerrilla Street Food is also on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar location in Chicago.

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

The Scoop: Seoul Q to move, Seoul Taco to expand

Monday, January 4th, 2016

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With lines at both restaurants growing quicker than expected, Seoul Taco and Seoul Q owner David Choi said he will expand Seoul Taco into Seoul Q’s space on The Loop, prompting a temporary closure and relocation of the Korean barbecue restaurant on Jan. 16. The sister restaurants currently share a space at 6665 Delmar Blvd. Renovations are expected to last until mid-February, and Seoul Taco will remain open during the remodel.

“I was (at Seoul Taco) for lunch for myself,” Choi said. “I saw a line and saw people sitting on Seoul Taco and Seoul Q’s side. That’s when I knew I could do something about that.”

Seoul Taco will expand into Seoul Q’s space, allowing Choi to expand the kitchen and the dining room. He hopes to add seating for another 75 to 80 diners, bringing the restaurant’s capacity to 150 patrons.

Choi is still looking for Seoul Q’s new location. “I really am looking for a bigger dining room,” he said. “One that can accommodate more diners so people don’t have to wait for an hour-and-a-half or two hours just to sit down … I need to find a space that is to my standard. If we find the right space in the right area, we’ll jump on it.”

Choi relocated Seoul Taco and opened Seoul Q in December 2014. He also owns the Seoul Taco food truck and locations in Columbia and is set to open a third in Champaign, Illinois this year.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman 

 

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

Get caught up on all last week’s food news, from sneak peeks of just-opened restaurants to new places you must try this month. ICYMI, here’s the latest in the St. Louis restaurant scene:

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1. After success in University City and Columbia, Missouri, owner David Choi is taking Seoul Taco to another college town: Champaign, Illinois. Click here for the Sauce Scoop on his first Illinois location.

2. Cardinals fans have one more post-season to enjoy at Joe Buck’s downtown and J. Buck’s in Clayton. The baseball-themed restaurants are closing for good Oct. 30. Click here for the Sauce Scoop.

3. After a combined 44-year run, family-owned Dooley’s Beef N Brew House is closing its doors for good on Saturday, Oct. 17. Click here for Sauce Scoop on why owner Sean Dooley is closing up shop.

 

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4. Ramen is on the rise in St. Louis, and doors recently opened at Robata, a ramen, yakitori and sushi eatery in Maplewood. Click here for the Sauce First Look.

5. Owner Travis Howard opened doors at Retreat Gastropub Friday, Oct. 9, and Sauce stepped inside a few days before to check out this outdoors-inspired gastropub in the Central West End. Click here for the Sneak Peek.

6. Part market, part cafe, chef-owner Matt Borchardt opened Edibles & Essentials in St. Louis Hills on Monday, Oct. 5. Click here for the Sauce First Look.

 

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7. Julia Li grew up in the kitchens of her family’s Chinese restaurants, including Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum. Click here to find out how she’s shaking up the family business in What I Do.

8. We’ve got 5 new must-try STL eateries in October. Click here for the Sauce Hit List.

9. Inspired by her favorite Piccione Pastry cookie, Baked set out to create a vibrant Tricolor Almond Cake. Click here for the stellar recipe.

 

-Seoul Taco photo by Michelle Volansky; Robata photo by Meera Nagarajan; Julia Li photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

 

The Scoop: Seoul Taco to open first Illinois location in Champaign

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

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In three months, hungry Fighting Illini will have another way to get their Korean food fix. Owner David Choi announced that Seoul Taco will open its third brick-and-mortar location at 608 S. Sixth St., in Champaign, Illinois in January 2016.

Building on the success of its University City and Columbia, Missouri locations, Choi said he is ready to take on another college town. “It’s a vibrant campus town that already has Korean restaurants, so the flavors will be familiar,” he said.

The new space has downstairs and mezzanine levels that seat 100 people total. In the meantime, Choi said he will roll into Champaign with the Seoul Taco food truck prior to the January opening to introduce his Korean tacos, burritos and bowls.

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

Hit List: 4 new places you must try this month

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

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1. Seoul Q: 6665 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.925.8445, seoulqstl.com

The space at 6665 Delmar Blvd., is now home to two sister restaurants: the newly relocated Seoul Taco and Korean barbecue-hotpot spot Seoul Q. After an order of Seoul wings, move on to the seductively aromatic Chicks in the Tub hotpot, a homey dish of Asian-style chicken stew with carrots and potatoes that stays warm on the induction stovetop fitted into your table. Seoul Q is full-service, but get ready to work for your meal when you order from the barbecue menu. Use your table’s custom-built grill to cook up cuts of beef (our pick: LA-style short ribs) or pork and enjoy it with rice and sides like egg soufflé, soy bean sprouts, kimchee and Korean-style beef croquettes, plus four house-made dipping sauces. Wash it down with bottled craft beer, makgeolli (a carbonated sweet rice wine) or cocktails featuring soju, a Korean spirit.

 

 

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2. The Old Bakery Beer Co.: 400 Landmarks Blvd., Alton, Illinois, oldbakerybeer.com

Alton is luring St. Louisans over the river with the opening of its new 18,000-square-foot brewery housed in a former industrial bakery. Stroll past the 15-barrel brewhouse to the back of this massive facility and grab one of nearly 200 seats in the tasting room. All Old Bakery beers are made with organic American-grown ingredients. We’re partial to the rich dark mild, served smooth on nitro, or the golden, single-hopped magnum pale ale. Non-beer drinkers can choose from a small list of classic cocktails, a fine whiskey selection or a glass of Illinois or Missouri wine. Like the space, the meals at Old Bakery are sizeable, too. Try the mixing bowl filled with house-pickled beet-and-kale salad, or a hefty Cuban sandwich packed with pulled pork, ham, house-made pickles, mustard and gooey Swiss cheese pressed between a split Companion baguette.

 

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3. The Southerner: 314.814.2287, Facebook: The Southerner – STL, Twitter: @SouthernerSTL

The Southern cuisine and food truck trends have hit the highway together in The Southerner. The mobile eatery serves reimagined barbecue and comfort food engineered by Natasha Creel and Emily Matthes. In addition to dishes inherited from the duo’s former Clayton restaurant, Roxane, don’t miss the Mason-Dixon Melt. Hickory-smoked turkey is griddled between slices of sourdough, along with cheddar, bacon, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise and house barbecue sauce. Order it with a side of addictive fried potato salad served warm and chile-studded mac-n-cheese. As the side of the truck proclaims: “It’s damn good, y’all.”

 

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4. Spoon Baking Co.: 4 E. Broadway St., Alton, Illinois, 618.374.6098, spoonbakingcompany.com

Tucked in a tiny corner storefront under a Tiffany Blue awning, Diana Schuler is whipping up delightful, decadent treats in Alton. The pastry counter inside the 350-square-foot shop offers a rotating selection of freshly baked goods like cookies, scones, bars, quiches and layer cake by the slice. Order a latte made with Door County Coffee and enjoy it with a Spoon Cookie made with oatmeal, coconut and walnuts. Save room for Schuler’s gooey butter cake, which strikes a perfect balance of sugar and butter. Be sure to purchase a bag of Spoon’s house-made marshmallows, ethereal pillows of soft gelatinous sugar that beg to be dropped into a cup of cocoa.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Behind the Scenes at Sauce: January 2015

Friday, January 30th, 2015
A lot happens behind the scenes at Sauce HQ, from kicklines with The Loop’s Joe Edwards to putting our interns through the ringer. Here’s a peek at some of our favorite recent moments on the job.

 

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Sneak Peek: Seoul Taco and Seoul Q

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

“This city has never seen anything like this.” Seoul Taco co-owner David Choi was talking about the barbecue grills fitting inside tables at his upcoming Korean barbecue and hotpot restaurant, Seoul Q, but the statement holds true for everything Choi has done at 6665 Delmar Blvd., in University City. The space is the new home for Choi’s relocated Seoul Taco, and its sister restaurant, Seoul Q. While they share a space, Seoul Taco will open later this week, and Seoul Q is slated to open at the end of December.

Upon entering, diners encounter a host stand in front of a partition made from colorfully painted boomboxes. Step right for Korean-Mexican fusion; step left for Korean barbecue and hotpots. The decor is as much a cultural mashup as Seoul Taco’s fusion fare is. A sculpture made from a 1942 Ford Metro van is mounted on the wall next to murals of Korean martial arts fighters wearing Mexican luchador masks.

Seoul Taco is still counter service, but there’s plenty more elbowroom at 76-seat space compared to its former 18-person confines down the street at 571 Mehlville Ave. The menu at Seoul Taco remains the same, but patrons can expect daily specials like Korean barbecue tortas and nachos. And now that it has a liquor license, patrons can wash down their tacos and burritos with 4 Hands brews on tap.

On the other side of the boomboxes, full-service Seoul Q is just as boisterous, but with a more industrial feel. Eight cylindrical exhaust hoods extend over those DIY barbecue grills in the center of poured concrete tables, and a dark wood scape runs the length of one wall, a signature touch of Smartmouth Designs, the Chicago-based interior design company that worked on the space.

The Seoul Q menu is divided into appetizers, soups and hotpots and barbecue. Patrons ordering the latter choose between various cuts of beef and pork to grill at the table. The meat comes with rice, six sides, vegetables and a choice of soup. A barbecue order generally serves two to three people. Meanwhile, meat and seafood hotpots are kept warm at induction stovetops set into some tables. Beverages include bottled craft beer and cocktails featuring soju, a Korean spirit.

Here’s a look at what to expect at Seoul Taco and Seoul Q when both restaurants open:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

The Scoop: David Choi to move Seoul Taco, open new Korean barbecue restaurant, Seoul Q

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

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{Seoul Taco owner David Choi}

 

Seoul Taco‘s brick-and-mortar is moving around the corner to a larger space in the Delmar Loop, and owner David Choi is adding a second concept to the new space – a cook-at-the-table Korean barbecue and hotpot restaurant, Seoul Q. Both restaurants will open at 6665 Delmar Blvd., former home to Ginger Bistro.

The move, scheduled for December, gives Choi 3,700 more square feet. Half of the new location will operate as Seoul Taco and the other half will be Seoul Q, which will have cooking implements and eight to 10 barbecue grills at the tables.

The menu at the new concept will include meats, traditional Korean banchan, or sides, like pickled vegetables, tofu, stews and soups. Diners will have the option to cook marinated or plain meats, which will be served with dipping sauces to eat inside as ssamjang, Korean lettuce wraps. Sauces include a sesame oil-based sauce with salt and pepper and one made with gochujang, a spicy, slightly sweet fermented chile paste.

Another menu item Choi is excited about is bo ssom, pork belly simmered in Korean spices for eight to 10 hours and paired with fresh tofu and kimchee. “(The recipe has) been in my family for years,” he said.

Choi has also secured a liquor license for each restaurant, and he plans to serve local craft brews at Seoul Taco and soju cocktails at Seoul Q.

Except for the addition of liquor, the menu at Seoul Taco (which fuses Korean barbecue and Mexican cuisine) won’t change, Choi said. It’ll still offer its famous Korean bulgogi (marinated steak) that Choi learned from his mother and grandmother and tweaked himself. The move came about because Seoul Taco’s existing 900-square-foot location was too cramped, especially since it also serves as commissary kitchen for its food truck. “It’s been elbow to elbow, whether it’s in the back of the house or the front of the house,” Choi said. The new restaurant will seat 160 total, 80 seats on each side for Seoul Taco and Seoul Q.

-photo by David W. Johnson Photography

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