Let the Fried Chicken Wars Begin: New Bon Chon Opens Today

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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.

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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.

Korean-Fried-Chicken-Palooza: Kyochon vs. Bon Chon vs. Mad For Chicken


  • It looks like a cafeteria. Ew.

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    I can’t see the big deal about the Korean fried chicken. Am I missing something?

    • yes, yes you are.

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        Like what? Chicken skin that is so crispy that you can barely bite into it?

      • dont know where you got your korean fried chicken, but at bon chon it’s great

      • Bon Chon’s chicken is:
        a) massive, both the drumsticks and wings
        b) Tender and juicy – no meat is stale
        c) Spicy – depends on heat you get, but it’s a perfect spiciness
        d) Did I say tender?
        e) Ridiculously flavorful – imagine a really good rotisserie chicken melt-in-your-mouth flavor.

        (In case you hadn’t noticed, I really really like Bon Chon)

  • ‘Fried Chicken war’ is so much more intriguing than ‘Cupcake Wars’, ‘Pat LaFrieda hamburger wars’ or that pesky ‘Iraq War’.

    And unlike Iraq, this will have actually have real WMD’s… Wings of Mass Deliciousness!

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    Uh, it ain’t opening till tomorrow, dudes. Just stopped by.

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    Can’t wait….bout time somebody outed these chicken places on there chemical ingredients…now we can compare the three, and be in and out of them and over to the lab….all within an hour

  • I tried to go to Bon Chon once on a Saturday. After taking my order and letting me sit for 10 minutes, they told me it would take ANOTHER 20 minutes. THIRTY MINUTES FOR SIX WINGS? Crazy talk.

  • The wait is really ridiculous if you aren’t staying. You have to order it and go do other things.

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