Owner David Choi announced the opening of the first Chicago location for his Korean/Mexican restaurant, Seoul Taco. Located at 738 N. Clark St, Seoul Taco Chicago brings Korean-influenced tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and more to Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
What started as a popular food truck in St. Louis almost five year ago has grown to four Seoul Taco fast-casual restaurant locations in St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri; Champaign, Illinois; and now Chicago. Seoul Taco's mobile beginnings helped the concept quickly gain a following among urban Millennials, who fell in love with the restaurant’s fast, affordable food and fun environment. The menu combines Choi’s mastery of classic Korean barbecue with a nod to Mexican street fare in the dishes’ delivery. By designing each location uniquely with the help of local artists, Choi aims to make each Seoul Taco integral to the community—both a place to eat and to meet.
“Our menu is simple by design; we don’t overcomplicate things,” Choi says. “We focus on super addicting flavors for our dishes, served in a way that allows you to swing by on your lunch break, but also invites you to sit down and stay a while with friends. We’ve already heard such a great response from Chicago and our River North neighbors.”
The menu showcases recipes from Choi’s childhood with a focus on fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Guests pick their protein from bulgogi beef; a soy-based marinated chicken; spicy pork with a Gochugaru (Korean red chile flake) dry rub and Gochujang marinade; or tofu with a gluten-free, tamari and dry spices marinade. Tacos ($2.50 per taco) feature Korean salad mix, green onion, secret “Seoul Sauce,” crushed sesame seeds, and a wedge of lime. The concept also offers a take on bibimbap with the Gogi Bowl ($8) of rice, fresh veggies, fried egg, carrots, green onion, sesame oil, and spicy Gochujang pepper sauce. The Burrito ($8) features kimchi fried rice, lettuce, cheese, carrots, green onion, sour cream, and Seoul sauces. Other items include quesadillas, nachos, kimchi slaw, and more.
Like the other locations, Seoul Taco Chicago is counter service for a quick lunch or dinner option in River North. However, the restaurant’s vibrant design draws guests in and showcases Choi’s close relationships with local artists. Guests are greeted by a mural from Chicago artist Erik DeBat, who designed the piece around the Luchador Tae Kwon Do character (a signature design element of the restaurant) with wallpaper stenciling and the comical word art stating, “Let Me Eat to the Death.”
Seoul Taco Chicago will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. Coming soon, Seoul Taco will offer a menu of craft beers as well as soju drinks. Until then, the restaurant is BYOB. Seoul Taco also offers catering and will be open late night starting in the coming weeks.