Kogi’s Korean Tacos Not Coming to NYC Anytime Soon

Roy Choi & Lee Anne Wong During Last Month’s Midtown Kogi Invasion

A rumor that had been floating around for a bit was finally confirmed at last night’s Eater panel at the 92YTribeca: Lee Anne Wong is no longer working as the East coast rep for the LA based Kogi BBQ Truck.  According to the former Top Chef contestant “Kogi will be focusing on their West Coast operations” while she moves on to “some very exciting projects down the line.”

So does this mean Kogi in NYC is dead?  Kogi’s Chef Roy Choi had this to say: “I love NYC! We are doing our best but my energies right now are trying to keep the food fresh to def! 55th and Lex….it will go down in history :)” History?  That doesn’t sound too promising.

Could Baja Fresh be our best chance of getting “Kogi” to NYC?

Nations Restaurant News confirmed yesterday what bloggers noticed over a month ago: “Baja Fresh Mexican Grill is testing a new prototype in Irvine, Calif., that features a more upscale design and will be the first corporate location to offer beer and agave wine margaritas.” Included in the new prototype is their new “Kogi Tacos” which the company acknowledges has nothing to do with the LA Kogi BBQ Truck:

“Kogi is the word for meat in Korean,” he said. “Baja Fresh since its inception has always had a more contemporary approach, meaning it wasn’t an authentically Mexican brand. We’re testing the fusion of flavors.”

Rink noted that the Korean tacos are “getting a much more positive reaction and guest participation than I ever anticipated.”

Natasha Phan, director of business development for the Kogi BBQ truck in Los Angeles, said she wasn’t aware of Baja Fresh’s test of a Korean taco until recently. She declined to comment on any potential trademark concerns.

“Our only comment is that we’re focusing on building and strengthening our core business,” she said.

I talked to Natasha last night, and she confirmed that “core business” means Kogi’s product in L.A. All plans for NYC are completely “on hold”.  And when I checked with the owner of Midtown’s Baja Fresh (on Lex. btw. 45+46th) he had this to say “Our Lex location is kind of a hybrid of the new prototype and the old Baja in the sense that we do have the new menu and look, but we do not have the plates/silverware or table service. We are waiting on our beer and wine license, after which we will be offering several beers/wines, and the agave wine margaritas. However, as for Kogi tacos, I have been informed that we will not be able to offer these anytime soon.

What a total bummer (because this is just not cutting it.)

Top Chef’s Lee Anne Wong to Bring Kogi BBQ Truck to NYC By End of Summer… or Tomorrow
NYC Baja Fresh Says Kogi Tacos Could Happen


  • “Trademark concerns”? You can’t raise a trademark issue unless you actually have a tm. And with “kogi” and “taco” being generic food descriptors, no one is going to get a trademark on “kogi tacos” nor prevent anyone else from using that as a food item name.

    The concept of a “Korean taco” is even less protectable.

  • Happy Well Being cart should come back to Midtown…better than ever with their own line of korean-style tacos. I doubt they could do any worse. Bring back Happy!

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    Yeah.. there can’t be… then anyone doing bool”kogi” could have a legitimate case against Kogi… nobody should be worried about using the word Kogi.. it’s like every tex-mex place in manhattan worrying about using the word “taco” in their name…

    In any case… I actually like the korean taco place on st. marks… (although not a midtown lunch).. and when I crave Korea tacos.. i usually go there, or just make it at home… i wonder if i can quit my day job and start selling korean tacos..

  • Did he really say “fresh to def”?

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    what does that even mean…?

  • It’s a slang term if you’re a rapper from 1992.
    While we are on the subject of trucks though, I was eating breakfast this morning and overheard some guy in a black chef’s coat talking about wanting to start a “falafel burger” truck…whatever that means…

  • Oh, sushi – you mean the Seoul Station in St. Marks:

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    yes! I really like that place… (although.. for everything else on the menu besides the tacos.. you probably want to head to k-town)

    I haven’t had the Kogi experience yet.. but this will do for now

  • Forgive me for a second here, but what exactly was the point of the Dessert Truck/Kogi Truck promotion then? To drum up support for something we can’t have?

  • That wanted ny to know there were fresh to def.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    “To drum up support for something we can’t have?”

    You misspelled “gauge”

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