Another popular food truck-turned-restaurant from St. Louis has announced plans for a Chicago location. This time it's Seoul Taco, as its owners say they'll open later this spring at 738 N. Clark St. — the former Mercadito Counter space. Chicago would be the fourth location for Seoul Taco, which debuted as a full-fledged restaurant in 2012 in St. Louis, after a year slinging tacos on wheels. The Tribune first reported the expansion.
Earlier in March, Seoul Taco opened in Champaign, serving up Korean beef bulgogi, chicken and pork as either tacos or burritos. The items feature a secret Seoul sauce, and Seoul Taco also serves a version of bibimbap, as well as quesadillas and nachos.
Seoul Taco's news comes shortly after another St. Louis food truck, Guerrilla Street Food, announced intentions to build a Chicago restaurant. They haven't settled on a location yet, but Guerrilla's Joel Crespo said he hopes to sign a lease by fall, then open six months afterward. They're looking at Lincoln Square, Logan Square and Wicker Park, he said.
Guerrilla hopes to capitalize on Chicago large Filipino population, and their fast-casual cuisine aims to push away from traditional Filipino food. Their signature item is called The Flying Pig (slow-roasted pork asado, chilis, calamansi juice, sriracha all served over rice and topped with a sous vide one-hour egg). Crespo wants folks to think beyond chicken adobo when it comes to Filipino cuisine.
So what's with the coincidence of the two announcements? Crespo said he actually knows Seoul Taco's David Choi, as they were among the first batch of food trucks licensed in St. Louis. The news isn't just a "pure accident," Crespo said. Chicago's proximity to St. Louis makes sense for their expanding chains, and both restaurants get travelers from Chicago who want them to open restaurants in town.
"This is food for the people," Crespo said. "Just because you don't have a lot of money doesn't mean you shouldn't have access to food this caliber."