Powerhouse Austin team cooks up plans for new Korean barbecue spot

A trio of hospitality heavyweights open a new Korean BBQ area in South Austin. Jjim Korean Braised BBQ is heading to Lamar Union, the Alamo Drafthouse-anchored South Lamar development, sometime this fall.

Pronounced “Jeem”, jjim is a slow to tender method of cooking meat, a departure from the traditional grilling methods found in Korean grilling. Jjim Korean Braised BBQ uses the method in dishes with beef, pork and oxtail.

The star of the menu is Galbi Jjim, a braised short rib beef served with carrots, shishito peppers, potatoes, oyster mushrooms, and spring onions. According to a press release, diners can “take the experience to the next level” by topping it with mozzarella cheese and adding rice, glass noodles, or a variety of banchan side dishes to their order.

“We’re very excited to introduce Jjim to Austin,” said co-founder Min Choe, who also owns Austin favorite Tso Chinese Delivery. “When I was growing up, Galbi Jjim was by far my favorite food. Cant wait for the Austin community to experience the same delight that I had with this delicious meal. “

This is the third project for CKN Hospitality, a strong team that includes Choe, Brian Kim and Youngmin Noh. In addition to Jjim BBQ, CKN also owns the Korean fried chicken from Donkey Mo and Roba Katsu.

Construction of the new restaurant is currently underway, with designer / architect Kevin Stewart of Design Hound leading the project. Stewart, whose portfolio includes Dai Due, The Grove, and Peached Tortilla, is tasked with transforming the former The Connection Pizza + Bar into a “fun and casual” Korean barbecue spot that is offering take-away and take-away options in response to the pandemic .

And as with Tso Chinese Delivery, Choe implements a no-tip policy at Jjim BBQ.

“We want the experience to be enjoyable and easy with no need to tip,” Choe said in a press release. “We aim to pay our employees very competitively so that there is no need for incentives through tips.”

Lamar Union has seen a number of high profile concepts since opening development in 2014 – including Arista Rosso, Cantine, Juice Society and El Burro – provoking jokes about a “curse”. Jjim BBQ’s new space at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. # 2140 included both Vox Table, which closed in February 2018, and The Connection, which closed last fall.

In recent years, however, many of the restaurants in the development appear to have gained steady fan following, and in development now are TLC, Mandala Market, Lick Honest Ice Creams, and Soto.

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