Heather Chung, the chef and owner of Brown Rice, is partnering with her sister Mimi Kim to open BeBim, a casual Korean barbecue concept opening inside R. House in Baltimore, Maryland, this fall.
After growing up in rural Korea, the duo immigrated to the U.S. looking for a fresh start. Eager to make a presence for herself in America, Chung decided to start her own businesses in Baltimore by opening several liquor stores. While the shops kept the cash flowing, it left Chung feeling empty. She turned to what had always been personally fulfilling: cooking. Using the recipes and techniques learned from her mother in Korea, Chung and her sister began serving healthful, more modern takes on traditional Korean dishes at their restaurant, Brown Rice in the Charles Village neighborhood.
“Food is our heart, so for me and my sister, cooking, and serving food is about making people feel full, feel good, and feel happy,” Chung says. “In Korea, our barbecue is a very special meal not an everyday food. We know many Americans love it, so what we’re going to do at BeBim is offer our traditional dishes in a casual format at an affordable price.”
BeBim will serve traditional Korean barbecue in a contemporary way: either as composed rice bowls—know as bibimbap—or with buckwheat wraps that customers can fill with grilled meats, vegetables, and house-made sauces. The chefs will make Korean dumplings from scratch, called mandu, stuffed with braised short-rib, sweet potato noodles, and sautéed peppers, serving guests from lunch through late night. BeBim also will serve Korean drinks like green tea and cinnamon punch.
“We love the energy and enthusiasm as R. House comes together, and seeing how Remington is changing the city in a good way,” Chung adds. “We wanted to be a part of it. The restaurant business is a lot of work—I feel like I pack 48 hours into a single day, but it’s all worth it in the end. We’re doing this for the feeling we get and the feeling we give. It’s not about the money.”
Located on the first floor of a 50,000-square-foot historic automobile showroom and garage in Remington (Remington Ave. and 29th St.), Seawall Development’s $12 million food and drink emporium, R. House, will be a launch pad for 10 of Baltimore’s most exciting chefs and their culinary concepts. Recently announced: Chef Dave Sherman will open his breakfast and coffee concept, Ground & Griddled; Farid Salloum will open ARBA, a Mediterranean street food spot; and Chef Melanie Molinaro will open an upscale vegetarian concept, Stall 11, in partnership with farmers of the future Urban Pastoral.