International Restaurateur Suji Park Launches Suji’s Korean Grill in U.S.
Fast-Casual Restaurant Business Headed Up by Industry Veteran Matt Hollenbeck
Suji’s Korean Grill (SKG), a new fast-casual restaurant serving modern Korean food has opened for business in prime retail space at Aksarben Center located at 1303 South 72nd Street in Omaha. The restaurant is the first in a proposed chain under the Suji’s brand, which already is introducing Americans to prepared Korean meals, entrees and sauces under the Suji’s Korean Cuisine label at retailers including Costco, Whole Foods, Target and H.E.B Grocers.
The restaurant is the brainchild of entrepreneur Suji Park, who has launched and established American themed restaurants in Seoul and Tokyo, and now is introducing her native Korean food to the states. Suji’s Korean Grill restaurant business will be led by CEO Matt Hollenbeck, a 25-year industry veteran formerly associated with such companies as Starbucks Coffee and Panera Bread.
“This is an incredible opportunity to build a global brand from the ground up,” Hollenbeck said. “What most appealed to me is that our concept will be introducing modern Korean flavors in a fast casual setting. The atmosphere is upscale, yet offers a familiar service style with freshly prepared ingredients used to create customizable, made-to-order meals. In addition to great tasting food, Suji’s also offers a variety of local craft beer and flavorful Korean soju cocktails to compliment any meal.”
The restaurant held a soft opening June 30, for “friends and family” then hosted a fundraiser that evening to benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland, with 100% of proceeds donated to the not-for-profit. A Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Jean Stothert will take place this Friday, July 22, to celebrate Omaha’s newest Korean restaurant, the first to offer modern Korean cuisine in this style.
Suji’s Korean Grill is open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily. Hollenbeck noted that the menu was designed to allow guests to create healthy, flavorful meals, adding that, “the menu is all-natural and gluten conscious, with only a handful of ingredients containing gluten.” Notable menu items at Suji’s include recognizable Korean elements such as Bibimbap (mixed rice bowls), Bulgogi (thinly sliced meat served in Korean sauce), Kimchi (seasoned, fermented vegetables) and Jeon (savory Korean pancakes). While Korean food is known for its complex, spicy flavor profile, the guests at SKG can select from savory or spicy seasoning to customize each meal according to their own taste preference.
According to Park, when planning the restaurant, Hollenbeck was a natural fit to head up this enterprise, given his experience and knowledge of the restaurant industry and his ability to launch the restaurant and build the brand internationally. “My philosophy has always been to hire the best talent possible and get out of their way and let them do their work,” she said. “With Matt, I’ve found someone who shares my vision of what Suji’s Korean Grill will be, and a genuine love of the business. I’m delighted to welcome him on board and watch our brand grow.”
According to Hollenbeck, while the focus right now is firmly on the Omaha restaurant, plans are already in the works to open a New York City-based restaurant in the coming year. “We absolutely view this as the start of an international brand, with a presence planned in cities such as New York, Washington DC, London and Tokyo. We already have begun considering locations in Manhattan,” he said.
About Suji’s Korean Grill
Suji’s Korean Grill is a fast-casual restaurant based in Omaha, NE, serving the authentic flavors of all-natural Korean Food. The restaurant was founded by Suji Park, who runs American-themed restaurants in South Korea and Japan. The business is an expansion of the “Suji’s” brand in the U.S., where Park has established Korean retail and foodservice meals, entrees and sauces.
About Suji’s Korean Cuisine:
Suji’s Korean Cuisine brings delicious, authentic Korean flavors to the home chef in easy to prepare and personalize “clean label” refrigerated and frozen meals as well as shelf-stable sauces that instantly add a true-to-the-culture taste to foods. The company was founded in 2013 by international entrepreneur Suji Park, known for bringing America’s New York-style deli to Korea and Tokyo. Suji’s Korean Cuisine is based in Omaha, Nebraska.
To learn more about Suji’s Korean Cuisine, visit us at www.sujiskorean.com