Some concepts just sell themselves, and clearly “fast-casual Korean fried chicken plus kimchi mac and cheese” is one of those concepts, as Brian O’Connor’s White Center gem, Bok a Bok, is expanding to Capitol Hill on December 1.
O’Connor, former chef at Skillet and Roux, opened the first Bok a Bok to instant acclaim in June 2016. The main attractions are juicy chicken breast, drumsticks, thighs, and wings fried to extra-crispy perfection, Korean-style, then dipped in the likes of sesame soy garlic or Korean barbecue sauce. The menu also features rice bowls and chicken sandwiches, including an outstanding yuzu green chile version, plus sides like kimchi, ginger coleslaw, mac and cheese, and biscuits. Party packs of up to 100 wings will be available to customize and take to-go.
The new restaurant at 925 E Pike St., with 1,000 square feet and 17 seats, isn’t much bigger than the tiny original, but it will also serve its menu at The Runaway, Barboza, and adjacent Neumos. That’s wonderful news to take the sting out of some disappointing news: The new Capitol Hill location has no liquor license and therefore none of the soju slushies so satisfying at the White Center spot.
Neumos co-owner Jason Lajeunesse said in a release that Bok a Bok’s food is “a perfect complement to the drinks new bar manager Ryan Lobe is making,” so anyone who needs to wash down their chicken with a cocktail can still do so comfortably. Meanwhile, Bok a Bok’s non-alcoholic drink list has a few decent options like Jones soda, sparking waters, and Korea’s popular toasted-barley sweet tea. At the end of the day, though, customers will come for the fried chicken and stay for the fried chicken.
Bok a Bok Capitol Hill, 925 E Pike St., website. As of December 1, Bok a Bok will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for dining in or take-out, with late night hours on Friday and Saturday.