Sam Jo is honoring his Korean heritage with upcoming White Center restaurant Anju Bar and Eatery, whose name refers in Korean to “food eaten with alcohol” and suggests the establishment’s focus on Korean drinking food, represented here in forms like bibimbap and kimchi quesadillas. Anju is under construction now and should open in mid- or late July at 9641 15th Ave SW, adding to the diverse neighborhood’s mix of bars and restaurants, including recent additions like Dottie’s Double Wide, Bok a Bok, and Beer Star.
Jo, whose parents are from South Korea, has held various restaurant and bar jobs, including bartender, server, and front-of-house. He most recently worked a corporate job as a project manager before leaving to travel throughout Asia and then start work on Anju. Jo hasn’t finalized his menu yet, but he says to expect a full bar with craft beer, some wine, and original cocktails — and it would certainly make sense to see a selection of soju, a traditional liquor commonly drunk with Korean bar food. A concise food menu may include dishes like the aforementioned bibimbap and kimchi quesadillas as well as Korean chicken wings and deep-fried kimchi mac-and-cheese balls.
Anju Bar and Eatery will be all-ages until about 7 p.m., when a 21-and-up requirement shifts the focus from the “eatery” to the “bar” aspect of the name. The space is fairly small, with seating for about 30 people with an industrial-chic aesthetic. “Not a dive bar but not pretentious either,” Jo says. Best of all worlds?