SEOULSPICE opens new Tenleytown location
Korean barbecue restaurant celebrated their grand opening with free food
SEOULSPICE opened its doors to students and Tenleytown residents Monday at Wisconsin Avenue and Brandywine Street in a space right next to District Taco.
The new fast casual joint served free Korean food in the form of bowls, tacos, salads and kimbap burritos to 2000 customers during its grand opening, according to Danielle Wilt, the vice president of the chain. Customers can choose from the signature dishes: Klassic, Seoul Train, Kimchi Krunch, Fireball, Southwest or Herbivore, or create their own.
The high turnout resulted in a line that looped around the seating area and the restaurant running out of their signature Bulgogi beef and rice around 6 p.m. One employee even put a sign in the doorway that apologized to “Seoulmates” for running out of complimentary food.
Katie Kerekes, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of the students that ordered before the restaurant ran out of some options. Kerekes said she decided to come after she saw a screenshot of the announcement made by AU Student Government in a Facebook group.
“I love Korean barbecue and free food so I was very excited about the combination of the two,” Kerekes said.
Wilt said they wanted to make a big first impression with the Tenleytown community by giving back with free food.
“Over the past few months many in the community have reached out to us asking for updates, cheering us on and welcoming us to the neighborhood,” Wilt said in an email. “I have had such a positive experience interacting with the Tenleytown neighborhood and we decided that we wanted to introduce ourselves to the community in a big way - what better way than to feed everyone?!”
Melissa Galvin, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she was also excited about the free Korean style food.
“There’s been a lot of bland restaurants [in Tenleytown] for a while, so I think it’s a good addition,” Galvin said.
The opening of SEOULSPICE adds to a running list of popular fast casual restaurants in Tenleytown, including Cava, District Taco, Beefsteak and Muncheez.
Eric Shin, the owner of SEOULSPICE, was helping employees serve food and check out customers on the night of the grand opening. Shin said via email that Tenleytown’s proximity to American University played an important role in his decision to open the location.
“We see Tenleytown as a rapidly developing part of DC with a well-established community of families, students, and industry,” Shin said. “As an up-and-coming DC brand, we want to grow alongside the neighborhoods that continue to define DC.”
The chain says on its website that it serves traditional and healthy Korean food “with a modern twist,” in order to “feed your seoul,” which Shin said he was excited to offer to AU students.
SEOULSPICE opened its first location on N Street in NoMa and has another location opening soon in College Park, Maryland.