It's been 3 long years since this project has been in the works! John left finance and the world of hedge funds with the humble dream of starting an accessible Korean BBQ restaurant.
John and Stephen met 1.5 years ago in 2016, while Stephen was a partner at an underground supper club called Little Meats LA and perfecting his craft as a chef. It was love at first sight, and we immediately started working together full-time on Kobunga.
It has been a tough but rewarding journey so far. We have secured some funding, developed our menu, and served thousands of guests through popups and catering opportunities, even without a brick and mortar store!
But NOW we have this incredible opportunity to open Kobunga Korean Grill in the brand new USC Village! We are so excited to start serving not only the tens of thousands of students and faculty there, but also the local Los Angeles community.
We're so thankful to all those who have been there to support us so far. We would love your support as well in kickstarting Kobunga at USC Village!
We have been perfecting and iterating our recipes since day 1. Our food incorporates the recipes that our mothers learned from their mothers and so forth. Once Stephen joined the team, he added his own Chef's flair to the food, giving it a special kick!
Our food keeps getting better and better, but don't just take our word for it - stop by once we open, and see for yourself!
We wanted to showcase a homey and comfortable feel with our restaurant interior, and with only 750 square feet, this was a challenge. Using elements of straw, wood and brick, we were able to achieve this - we decided to implement a "Three Little Pigs" theme into our design.
We also couldn't have asked for a more perfect home, since the entire USC Village is made up of bricks!
Part of our story has always been the entrepreneurial journey. From concept creation and food testing to fundraising and finally opening our brick and mortar store, we've been so grateful to have had ISAtv film a documentary showcasing our journey, with Jason Poon as our director. We will release it once we've finished filming the Grand Opening and finished post-production and editing!
Eater LA did a feature on us here. Thank you to Farley Elliot at Eater LA for this article! Also, check out a short clip of us with Hudson Yang from the hit ABC TV Series, Fresh Off The Boat!
We've got great prizes such as t-shirts, key-chains, bottled sauces, and more!
We want to sincerely thank those who have been supporting us!
In no particular order, special thank you's to: our architects Linda Chen and Dennis Lee (CO-AR Design), our general contractors Scott Trestik and Victor Rosales (Pacific Construction Group Inc), our documentary director Jason Poon (Jason Poon Films), our producer Dan Matthews (ISAtv), our editor Andrew Yi (Gunho Films), event coordinator Erin Kruse (Home Grown Event Co), our older brother figures Phil Lee (Honeybird) and James Choi (Cafe Dulce), and Annie Hessen and Chris Daniell (Athena Management)
Sincere thanks to our mentors Carl Chang (Founder, Pieology) and Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero (Co-Founders, Mendocino Farms) for showing us the ropes and truly looking out for our best interests, always.
To our investors: you are funding our dreams, and we will never forget that. Thank you, and we can't wait to hit this out of the park and provide you with positive returns beyond your wildest dreams.
Big thank you to our Board of Advisors for always having our backs: Stephanie Cheng (Hampton Creek) and Stanley Cheng (Meyer and Hestan), Frederick Gartside (Elkins Kalt Weintraub Reuben Gartside LLP), Bong Koh (KohFounders), Chris Kelleher (Auspex Capital), and Kenny Lim (Ingram Micro)
Immense thank you to USC, Brian Wilson, and Laurie Stone for believing in our vision. Shout out to USC President C. L. Max Nikias and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for the immense accomplishment that is USC Village and the profound positive effect it will have on Los Angeles.
Last but not least, to our friends and family, we could not be here today without you. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
Even though we have been able to get this far along with construction, it has been a tough road with very unique challenges. Costs have risen higher than expected, and we are facing a deadline to open in order to serve students before their semester ends. Electrical, Building & Safety, Health inspections are also out of our control. We would love any support from you for this project, and we are truly grateful you are a part of our community. Despite these challenges, we know we have become smarter and stronger for Kobunga's second location and beyond. We are ready to be the next Shake Shack.
Thank you for supporting us through this Kickstarter!
Follow us on Instagram to learn more!
- (19 days)