I feel like we never made it out of the honeymoon phase. Bonchon opened late last year, promising mountains of Korean fried chicken, bowls of crispy pickled radishes and mug after mug of ice-cold beer. I reviewed the restaurant early this year, watched a few football and basketball games at the bar and generally left fat, drunk and happy. There were other people there doing the same, but apparently there weren't enough of us. Bonchon is closing.
"We are rebranding the restaurant to Ashwood," Wyatt Hurt, a consultant working with the restaurant, explains. Sales were not high enough, so the investment team recently started negotiating a way out of their franchise agreement. Hurt says once they hash out all the details the location will close. He estimates it will take two to three weeks.
After 10 days of brown-paper covered windows the restaurant will re-open as Ashwood, and according to Hurt, the new place will still feature Korean fried chicken wings. There will still be plenty of TVs showing sports and there will be plenty of cold beer too, but that's the last of the similarities.
"We're going to open up the menu to have a broad selection of appetizers, burgers, tacos and salads," he says. Ashwood's menu will also focus on healthier items "to appeal to the masses."
The group is also working with the landlord to increase the outdoor dining space, where they'll also offer live music. Here's hoping they keep the fry cooks, because none of that sounds as exciting as those Korean fried chicken wings.