by Jan Parr
Seoul Taco of St. Louis is bringing its Korean-Mexican fast food to River North.
The restaurant will be located at 738 N. Clark St., which most recently was home to Mercadito Counter, and will serve Korean-influenced tacos, quesadillas, burritos and nachos.
David Choi, who started his business as a food truck, opened his first brick-and-mortar location in the Delmar Loop neighborhood of St. Louis in 2012. A second location opened in Columbia, Missouri, in February and a third opened earlier in March in Champaign.
The menu showcases recipes from Choi's childhood (his mother and grandmother are from South Korea and are avid cooks). Guests choose from bulgogi beef; a soy-based marinated chicken; spicy pork with a gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) dry rub and gochujang marinade; or tofu with a gluten-free tamari and dry spices marinade. Tacos feature Korean salad mix, green onion, “Seoul Sauce,” crushed sesame seeds and a wedge of lime.
“We like to think that we take the idea of Korean tacos to a new level,” Choi says. “Chicago is such a melting pot of cultures, and we're excited to be a part of such an amazing food scene.”
Alex Morales of Smartmouth Design will oversee the look of the 80-seat, 2,500-square-foot fast-casual restaurant. Chef/graffiti artist Won Kim and local artist Eric DeBatt will create murals for the location.
Seoul Taco Chicago plans to open in late spring.