Right now, you can smell the sawdust. Soon, however, the dominant smell will be grilled meat: Korean barbecue is coming to Randhurst Village.
Mr. Kimchi Korean BBQ, the all-you-can-eat spot at 1747 W. Golf, Mount Prospect, is opening a second location at 164 Randhurst Village Drive, in the space formerly occupied by Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill.
Taikyo Park expects to open in the middle of February.
Since he opened the original Mount Prospect location in 2017, Park said, his customer base has grown to the point where weekend crowds have been kept waiting. So he decided to expand to a second, larger location.
Customers will have their meat grilled at the table, with a choice of 30 different items. For $34.95, you can get all you can eat.
A popular dish is galbi, marinated short ribs with soy sauce, Korean pear, a hint of garlic, onion, brown sugar and sesame oil.
Other dishes include bulgogi beef, pork belly and even KFC — Korean fried chicken, that is.
Park said the new restaurant will be equipped with a bar and offer an extensive wine list.
Park, who lives in Streamwood, said he came to the United States from South Korea as a teenager, graduating from Roosevelt High School in Chicago. He learned to cook from his mom, Kyung Cho, and her specialty was kimchi, a dish consisting of salted and fermented vegetables.
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“Kimchi is one of the healthiest foods in the world. People loved my mom’s kimchis,” he said.
Park entered the business when he was pressed into emergency service at a suburban restaurant.
“I was working at this sushi restaurant called Showga in Mundelein. A friend of mine owned it,” Park said. “I was working as a busser, and one day a shift didn’t show up. So he asked me, ‘Hey, come in and help me out.’ So I started making a sushi roll.”
In 1996, he and his mom opened up a restaurant, Cafe Mylife, on Western Avenue in Chicago. Later, he owned Wildfish and Nikko Sushi in Arlington Heights.
In addition to the two Mount Prospect restaurants, he currently owns Zen Sushi & Grill in Beloit, Wisconsin, and I Luv Sushi in Rockford.
The Randhurst location offers the advantage of expanded parking and proximity to the AMC theaters and Costco.
Village trustees, who approved the liquor license Tuesday, also were enthusiastic about the new location.
“I think it’s going to be a wonderful fit for you,” said Trustee Michael Zadel, adding, “My grandson just loves everything that you have to serve.”