New Korean barbecue opens in East Lansing
The owner and a real estate partner behind the new Bul Go Gi restaurant in East Lansing discuss their views on the new location.
Bulgogi is the name of a Korean dish consisting of beef and vegetables. It’s also the name of a new restaurant that opened last week in East Lansing.
Bul Go Gi Fine Korean Cuisine, 340 Albert Ave., opened Feb. 7 in what owner Kevin Choi described as a “soft open.” The Korean barbecue restaurant has been under construction for the past four months.
“I’m still waiting for a liquor license,” he said. “After I get (the) liquor license, (I’ll) do the grand opening.”
Choi’s daughter, Seoyoung Choi, who works as a waitress at the restaurant, said she wanted to get everything set up first before advertising.
“At first, not a lot of students even knew we were open,” she said.
Finance freshman Giovanni Pan, left, and Japanese sophomore Phoebe Richardson have lunch Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, at Bul Go Gi, 340 Albert Ave. Pan had been in the restaurant several times before, but this was Richardson's first. The two came to the Korean restaurant to celebrate Valentine's Day.
But word of mouth from people who went on opening day led to an increase of customers, Seoyoung Choi said.
Now the restaurant is lined with grills installed on the majority of the tables filled with people eating bulgogi and shrimp.
Customers are given ingredients, such as squid and fresh vegetables, to cook on the grills.
Joe Hooker — the landlord and development services manager at the Christman Capital Development Company — helped Kevin Choi move to the former space of the Mumbai Cuisine.
“I never had Korean food before,” he said. “I love food. I definitely will be coming back.”
Harry Kokkinakis, a partner in the deal with the Christman Company that brought Bul Go Gi to East Lansing, said he was familiar with Kevin Choi from his Ann Arbor restaurant, Miki Japanese Restaurant.
Besides Bul Go Gi, Kevin Choi previously owned two other restaurants, Miki and Bi Bim Bab, in Novi, Mich.
Kevin Choi said he sold Miki to use the profits from the sale for Bul Go Gi. He said he sold Bi Bim Bab in 2001 because of a broken partnership.
The menu for Bul Go Gi features restaurant’s namesake, as well as spicy pork, beef tongue and different types of chicken.
When Japanese sophomore Phoebe Richardson and her friend, finance freshman Giovanni Pan, were trying to decide where to eat, Pan suggested to try Bul Go Gi.
“It was so good,” Richardson said. “Everything was so great. And it was fun cause you have the little grill.”
Pan said Thursday was the third time he’s been to Bul Go Gi since it opened last week.
“It’s really tasty,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been here for (the) third time already.”