Chicagoans finally know where San Soo Gab San, the acclaimed Korean barbecue, is opening their new location: they’re taking over the Black Iron Tavern in River West. San Soo Korean BBQ should open sometime this summer at 401 N. Milwaukee Avenue. San Soo is the only Korean barbecue recognized by Michelin, as the restaurant — for the first time — in October was named a Bib Gourmand.
San Soo has been around Chicago for more than 25 years and they presently operate two locations: one on Foster and Western, and another in suburban Morton Grove. The family of Christopher Kim runs the restaurants, and Kim wants to liven things up with a third location. The new River West restaurant will feature cocktails and even Korean tacos. The more modern restaurant is a collaboration between Kim, Alvin Kang (The Angry Crab) and Zach Friedlander (Aloha Poke Co.). There’s dreams of taking the concept national, much in the same way Friedlander is opening Aloha Pokes from LA to Washington, D.C.
Black Iron closed in December. The San Soo team wanted to give the bar’s owners a chance to communicate with staff members before making the announcement. Black Iron had a two-year run.
The ownership trio is keen on a new ventilation system they’re installing. They’ll have 16 Korean grill tables, but hope the new system will prevent customers from smelling too smoky. It’s not so much people hate bringing the smell of Korean barbecue with them, but it’s unfair to taunt friends who didn’t eat Korean barbecue and make them jealous with the smell. It only serves as a reminder that not everyone got to eat marinated meats and such.
Check back for more updates in the coming months.