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Michelin-Acclaimed San Soo Korean BBQ Targets Early July Opening in River West

Its new location will be a modern riff on a 26-year-old Chicago favorite

San Soo Gab San features charcoal-cooked meats.
Eater National/K-Town
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

The downtown iteration of San Soo Gab San, the only Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated Korean barbecue restaurant in Chicago, is targeted to open the first week of July in River West. Christopher Kim, whose family has run the original San Soo for 26 years in Lincoln Square, touted the new restaurant, San Soo Korean BBQ, as a modernized version with new menu items and a full bar. No, there won’t be Korean tacos, Kim said they nixed previous plans and will focus on classic items served up in a more approachable manner.

San Soo Korean BBQ’s new sign.
San Soo Korean BBQ/Facebook

One of the features that makes the original San Soo unique is its charcoal grills, a rarity for Korean barbecue. Not all of the grills inside the new restaurant at 401 N. Milwaukee Avenue (the former Black Iron Tavern space) will burn coals. They will use gas inside, according to partner Zach Friedlander. In designing the new restaurant, its owners wanted to make sure the interiors don’t fill up with smoke so customers don’t carry the smell with them. However, in a twist, they’ll use charcoal outside on the patio. They’ll unveil details of the outdoor area later this month.

Chicagoans mainly know Friedlander as the founder of the Aloha Poke Co. chain. He’s partnering with Kim along with Alvin Kang from Angry Crab. Together, they’re hoping to open additional San Soo BBQs following the new model they’re establishing in River North.

There’s also a San Soo in suburban Morton Grove. Check back for more details later this month.

San Soo Gab San’s charcoal makes it unique.

Black Iron Tavern

401 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60654 (312) 690-4000

San Soo Gab San

5247 North Western Avenue, , IL 60625 (773) 334-1589 Visit Website