The U District’s Korean fried chicken scene recently welcomed back a major player. BB.Q Chicken — which has more than 2,000 locations worldwide, including several located in Western Washington — opened a new outpost at 4223 University Way last month. It had previously been at 4525 University Way, but closed years ago to make room for a Chi Mac location (also a Korean fried chicken restaurant, but not part of the same company).
The restaurant is serving its popular menu of fried birds topped with different sauces and spices, along with other Korean dishes, such as bulgogi poutine, kimchi ramen, and tteokbokki (stir fried rice cakes), all available for takeout.
For the uninitiated, BB.Q. Chicken is a nearly 25-year-old brand with a name that stands for “best of the best quality” (not barbecue). Its birds are cooked in extra virgin olive oil and tested in the company’s South Korean research and development center known as Chicken University. Though it got its start overseas, BB.Q has expanded rapidly in the U.S. over the past several years, with locations in New York, D.C., Vegas, Austin, and several other cities.
Of course, Seattle has no shortage of Korean fried chicken, and the U District already has a few popular spots to score some, including Bok a Bok and the aforementioned Chi Mac. There’s certainly room for more, though, and with the backing of such a large company, no doubt BB.Q has the resource to make an impact during a time when diners are seeking out more takeout-friendly dishes such as fried chicken.
With classes at the University of Washington going mostly online this fall, businesses in the neighborhood face challenges, as there won’t be a steady stream of college kids dining out. But, despite this obstacle, the Korean chain seems to find the Pacific Northwest fertile ground for expansion. It opened a kiosk inside South Lake Union store District H (a fancy offshoot of H Mart), in addition to small outposts in Tacoma, Lynnwood, and Federal Way.
UPDATED, September 10, 2020, 11:53 a.m.: As readers helpfully pointed out, there had been a location of BB.Q Chicken in the U District before, but closed years ago to make room for Chi Mac. So it’s more accurate to say this marks the chain’s return to the neighborhood rather than an “arrival.” That has been corrected.