Prospect Heights fans of Kimchi Taco Truck no longer have to go to Manhattan for their Korean-Mexican-fusion fix. The widely popular mobile lunch spot opened a brick-and-mortar location Thursday evening.
The new spot, dubbed Kimchi Grill, located at 766 Washington Ave. between Park and Sterling places, will primarily sell the kimchi tacos, bowls and cheesesteaks sold from the truck But it will also offer a Korean fried chicken taco, something that is too involved to serve regularly on the truck, said owner Phillip Lee.
Fans of the mobile restaurant need not worry: Lee has no plans of shutting down the truck.
Although Lee lives on the Lower East Side with his wife and two daughters, he because of the area’s intrepid population.
“This concept, it’s kind of out there. I felt like the people in this neighborhood would be more accepting of it. … It’s adventurous eaters that come out to this neighborhood,” he said.
The South Korean native, who moved with his parents to Long Island when he was 5, launched Kimchi Taco Truck just over a year ago, opening on the heels of the Korilla BBQ truck, and the Korean-Mexican fusion trend that began in Los Angeles several years ago.
“Our purpose was definitely financially driven, but also to get people more comfortable with Korean food,” he said. “I felt like if we combined kimchi with things like tacos that people are more comfortable with, they’ll find they like it.”
Lee adds that the flavors of Korean and Mexican are quite similar, likening the spicy-sweet tastes of Mexican mole with go-chu-jang, a Korean fermented miso-pepper sauce.
The restaurant’s executive chef is Michael Calderon, who comes to the venture after owning a restaurant in Texas.
“He grew up with burritos all his life and I grew up with Korean food,” Lee added, “so it’s a good marriage in the way.”
Right now the restaurant will be open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 9 on weekends. Lee said he’ll probably add delivery soon and may add some weekday lunch hours. But the restaurant’s hours and menu will be determined by how it is received.
“We don’t know what to expect,” Lee said. “But if you provide a good product people will come.”
Kimchi Grill, 766 Washington Ave. bet. Sterling and Park places, 718-360-1839. Open Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.