Bill Kim has spent the past five years taking the unexpected route. The Charlie Trotter’s vet turned his back on the fine dining scene three years ago when he opened Urban Belly, a noodle bar and dumpling shop that balanced his Korean background with other Asian cuisines. Two year later, he opened Belly Shack, which mashed those influences with Latin American street food. After loads of acclaim, including a couple Michelin Bib Gourmand awards, you’d think he’d be set to take over the city. Instead, The Feast reports that he has his sights set on L.A.
Kim explains that his sister-in-law lives there, and that they are currently scoping out locations in downtown L.A. The plan is to start with a pop-up in the next six months, and then “go from there.” Of course, L.A. already knows one or two things about Korean food, and the move initially seemed to us like when Rick Bayless decided to consult with Red O. Critics still haven’t gotten over it.
But Kim seems to be going about the move a little differently. While it will have “Belly” in the name, it will be an entirely new concept. Talking to The Feast, he explained that it will have “influences from Chicago, Asia, and Latin America combined with the West Coast and what they offer, and their year-round produce.”
Bill Kim Looks to Take Belly Brand to West Coast [The Feast]