For more than three years, Bap and Chicken on St. Paul's Grand Avenue has been a destination for Korean fried chicken. It's also a space that celebrates adoptees and a popular lunch and dinner spot for neighborhood families.
Now, owner John Gleason says that the restaurant will close March 25.
"I am so grateful — for the team, this community, the adoptees ... It's been very special."
Gleason was adopted from Seoul, South Korea, at 6 months old and raised in the Twin Cities. He built his career in the hospitality industry. When the time came to open his own restaurant, he wanted to give Korean cuisine a little boost.
Bap and Chicken opened in the summer of 2019 with a scratch-kitchen menu highlighting Korea's famous double-fried chicken, meaty legs doused in a spicy sweet sauce, as well as bibimbap rice bowls. That was before chain restaurants offering those same dishes came to town.
The restaurant also built a culture that celebrated adoptees, with a wall of photos and an annual event on Sept. 22, Gleason's adoption day.
"It's been really special," Gleason said. "Because of the wall, we have so many people who have shared their stories with me, the team and with each other. Being adopted, you can have mixed emotions. If one person has felt seen or more included because of our wall, it's worth it."
The closure doesn't necessarily mean that this is the end of Bap and Chicken's story. "A lot of factors of went into the decision to close," said Gleason. "But, we'll see what develops next."
Gleason hopes friends and fans will make it out for the final few days on Grand Avenue.
Bap and Chicken will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. "We hope to have a few more dates with guests who have become friends, staff and the neighborhood."