Let the Fried Chicken Wars Begin: New Bon Chon Opens Today
Today’s the big day – the ‘new concept’ Bon Chon Chicken is opening on 5th btw. 32+33rd Street and we’ve got a few more details on exactly how different it’s all going to be. According to Simon Lee, the owner and manager of the new location (as well as an employee of Bon Chon the corporation), the idea was to move beyond the fast food model that most of the Korean fried chicken shops have followed. Instead, it’s going to juggle fast food and bar duties in a way that might lead to a few tipsy lunches.
Details on the new Bon Chon and photos of the space after the jump.
First, the big news: Simon mentioned a new frying method straight from Bon Chon HQ which should result in faster food turnaround. Obviously, the time it takes to get an order has long been a complaint of Korean chicken fans. If this new method manages to speed things up without compromising the chicken, it’ll be a game changer in the upcoming Fried Chicken Wars. The 38th Street branch is said to be working on using this new prep process as well, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
As far as what makes the space so different, here are some of the highlights. The place is set up sort of like a rustic lounge making a clear distinction from Kyochon’s space age decor and Mad For Chicken’s industrial design. The perimeter of the main area is going to be lined with banquettes that will have table service all day. This is iffy for Midtown Lunchers since table service means tipping and it sounds like ordering from the counter means you’ve got to take it to go. That’s unconfirmed, but I’ll investigate further today at lunch (you know… for science.)
After lunch, the space is going to make a quick change to be a bit more bar/loungey. At happy hour, the ordering counter turns into a bar and one register off to the side will be used for takeout orders. Speaking of happy hour, Simon mentioned the idea of $2 drafts as a lunch special. That’s particularly dangerous given that they’ll be stocking 10 draft beers.
I was sure to ask him about the plans for the backyard space. He has no eta on when the space would be available, but did say that the space would be open to the public for outdoor dining all day and that at 8pm, when the ‘public space’ closed that the entire area would be used by Bon Chon. I have no idea when it’ll happen, but I can’t wait. I’ll be there nightly enjoying beer and chicken under the stars.
Further down the line, Simon plans on expanding the menu to include more items to cater to both the Koreatown crowd and the zillion tourists in the neighborhood for the Empire State Building. All of that is slated for early next year, depending on how the initial opening goes.