Korean-style fried chicken is coming to the Twin Cities.
Bonchon, a New York-based chain focusing on the extra crispy comfort food, is debuting its first two Minnesota locations later this year.
The first, in the former Davanni’s Uptown location at 1414 W. Lake St., is slated to open in July. In the fall, another outpost in the former Vescio’s location at 406 14th Av. SE. will follow. Both will be franchised by restaurateur Sam Zheng.
“In Minnesota, we’re really open to new cultures of food right now,” said Marshall Nguyen, who works with the local Caspian Group real estate company and who brokered the deal for the Dinkytown location. “We’ve become a very diverse state, and I think people want that.”
Bonchon will offer its signature chicken – fried twice for maximum crispiness – in wings, drumsticks and strips and served with spicy and garlic soy sauces.
Zheng is also pursuing beer and wine and full liquor licenses for both locations.
“It’s like KFC with beer and a twist on the seasonings,” Nguyen said. “It’s fast-casual but at the same time, it’s fun.”
Other dishes include pork buns, potstickers, bibimbap (a Korean rice, meat and vegetables dish served in a sizzling stone bowl) and octopus dumplings, called Takoyaki.
Korean-style fried chicken has become extremely popular on the coasts. While there are a handful of Korean restaurants in Minnesota, none of them are specifically known for their fried chicken – but Rabbit Hole at Midtown Global market does offer it, as does Italian restaurant Red Rabbit, on their weekend late-night menu.
Bonchon started in Busan, South Korea, in 2002. It now has more than 200 locations all over the world, and more than 60 in the U.S. Currently, the closest outposts are in Chicago.
(Above photo courtesy Bonchon/Facebook)