Top Chef’s Lee Anne Wong to Bring Kogi BBQ Truck to NYC By End of Summer… or Tomorrow

Chef Lee Anne Wong & Chef Roy Choi

The best thing to come out of our live coverage of the Kogi BBQ truck’s invasion of Midtown today was finding out that Chef Lee Anne Wong, from Top Chef Season 1, was just named the Executive Chef of Kogi BBQ’s east coast operations.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, she is going to be spearheading their operations here on the East coast.   First order of business?  Opening a Kogi BBQ Truck here in New York City.

Once the kimchi quesadillas ran out, she told the disappointed crowd that Kogi would hopefully be opening in NYC by the end of the summer.  Then she told me, they’d be open tomorrow if they could.

In other words- they’re ready.  Chef Wong said that as soon as they get the permit for the truck, they will be up and running. Unfortunately there is a 3 year waiting list for permits- so, if anybody has one lying around that they’re willing to part with let the folks at Kogi know! The other option?  Kogi’s chef Roy Choi suggested to me that Midtown Lunchers start a petition urging Mayor Bloomberg to just give them a permit outright.

I think that might be a little unfair to all the hard working vendors here in NYC struggling to get their own permits.  But I’m all for raising the cap on the number of vending permits issued each year. Right now the city issues so few annually that it has created an expensive underground black market for cart and truck permits.  It’s an issue the Street Vendor Project feels very strongly about, so if fighting for higher caps will help them- plus bring Kogi to NYC faster.  I’m all for it!

Anybody know Mayor Bloomberg?


  • Holy crap. Make it happen ASAP. lol.
    Korean tacos soon please!

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    Can’t they just buy out another cart along with the vendor permit? I think that’s how the guy from El Rey Del Sabor is expanding.

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    Unless you’re a veteran your chances of getting a vendor license are slim to none.

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    …or if the permit for a truck is different from a cart, then what about buying out one of the trucks (that’s not in midtown)?

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    They better not park near Rafiqi!

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    i’m sure if they knew that Kogi wanted to buy out their truck, the premium would be pretty high…

  • I say park near 50th and 6th and completely ruin those who drove out the Happy Well away. Revenge is a dish best served cold…kimchi!

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    T.C… While I agree with you on the revenge part..
    damn… 50th and 6th is far for me…. I’m hoping they stay right at 55th and Lex w/ the Dessert Truck..

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    I worked briefly with LeAnne when she was at FCI (pre-Top Chef) and I can say she’s a talented, hard-working smart cookie. I hope this whole thing is a big success for her (and for us Midtown Lunchers!).

  • I’m moving to 50th and 6th in a few months, so I hope some new carts come in and muscle in on those halal guys territory. Why does there need to be more than one halal cart on that cross street anyway. I’m bothered that the korean cart left.

  • I don’t know how the city gives out permits… but shouldn’t they auction it off for money? This way the city can make money simply by letting trucks park there, and they get to take the income tax too. This also would eliminate older trucks/carts that just serve dirt water dogs because they won’t be able to outbid trucks that actually get business.

  • Danny for mayor…great idea!

  • Why’s them bastards giving me the Agincourt finger?

  • Dammit Rudy! I was about to say that!!!

  • why is there a limit on the licenses? or such a long wait time? that’s stupid. we need *MORE* street food vendors, asap.

  • Is kimchi + cheese + scallions really good?

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