Del Seoul, a quick-serve Korean barbecue joint in Lincoln Park, opens: Photo gallery
Photos: Erica Gannett
Siblings Irene and Pete Jeon have quietly opened Del Seoul, a quick-serve Korean barbecue joint in Lincoln Park. While the two grew up in a restaurant family, after traveling (and eating their way) through Asia, they decided "the timing was right to introduce Korean flavors in a funkier way than the traditional Korean barbecue," Irene says. "Lots of people are still kind of intimidated to try Korean food," she adds, conceding that "it has an image of being very very spicy and very garlicky, which is pretty true." So for Del Seoul, the duo incorporated a range of inspiration: "I went around Vietnam eating a lot of banh mi sandwiches," Irene says. "He lived in Thailand eating awesome street food. We were also really influenced by the whole L.A. street food truck movement—the Kogi truck, they were the inventors of this new kind of Korean fusion, they were definitely a great influence on us, just seeing their success story." The resulting menu is a combination of korean tacos (kalbi, barbecue pork, grilled chicken, spicy shrimp), liberal interpretations of banh mi, and some traditional Korean dishes, such as bi bim bop and the family's dumpling recipe, all priced under $10. The street-food aspect of it particularly appealed to the pair: "In other parts of the world," Irene says, "everyone eats street food. It's not just the working class or middle class—it's all races and different types of people, because a lot of times it's better than what you'd find in a sit-down restaurant—it's more like home cooking." That street-food vibe is reflected in the build out, which incorporates corrugated-metal accents and colors inspired by fire to reflect the barbecue component. The lovely and talented Erica Gannett stopped by over the weekend to check out the scene.
Del Seoul is located at 2568 N Clark St between Wrightwood Ave and Deming Pl, 773-248-4227. El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Diversey; Red to Fullerton. Bus: 8, 22, 36, 134, 143, 151, 156. Lunch, dinner (closes 8pm Sun). Average main course: $6.