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Seattle’s Korean Barbecue Scene Heats Up This Summer

Popular Los Angeles-based chain Baekjeong comes to Lynnwood

A cut of marbled beef on a grill, delicately handled with tongs. Around the grill are side dishes with sauces, pickled vegetables, and noodles.
The highly acclaimed Korean barbecue chain will open its first location in the Pacific Northwest in July.
Baekjeong Korean Barbecue

The restaurant that’s been hailed as Los Angeles’ best Korean barbecue chain has confirmed recent rumors of a northward expansion. Baekjeong Korean Barbecue — known for its consistency, quality, and unique spins on classic accoutrements to the popular Korean barbecue dining style — plans to open its eighth U.S. location in Lynnwood’s Alderwood Mall in July, and its second outside of Southern California, after New York.

Baekjeong was started by a Korean professional wrestler turned reality show star in 2003, and brought to Los Angeles in 2012 by Michael Chon and the Kijung Hospitality Group. A decade later, the restaurant that legendary Los Angeles Times food writer Jonathan Gold listed on his famously competitive 101 Best Restaurants list begins a new era of growth as it comes to the Seattle area. A ninth location will follow in San Jose this fall.

Five marbled beef cuts splayed out on a granite-colored plate. A side of sauce and bean sprouts are on the side.
Boneless short ribs at Baekjeong.
Baekjeong Korean Barbecue

As Baekjeong considered branching out from LA, Seattle was high on the list for locations, simply because Chon and his wife loved the city and the area. “The greenery everywhere, the crisp air, the outdoor activities, and especially the people,” he said. “We want to continue to go into cities that we enjoy visiting and can picture ourselves living in.”

Plans have long been in the works but were delayed by the pandemic. Now that the July opening has been confirmed, the Lynnwood restaurant will be the first in the brand’s history to have a larger menu, which includes new lunch and bar menus. These additions were developed by the Senior Director of Culinary Operations, Samuel Kim. The physical space is designed by South Korean firm Sun Creative to “capture the ambiance and vibrance of a typical street in metropolitan Seoul and bring it to life inside,” Chon explained.

An illustration of a spacious dining room, with expansive booths, glass walls, and posh lighting.
An artist rendering of Baekjeong’s new Lynnwood location.
Baekjeong Korean Barbecue

Despite these new additions, plenty about the new location will remain the same as the other restaurants. Chon promised they remain committed to consistency, will use only USDA Prime grade meats and better, and carry customer favorite dishes like the multiple styles of short ribs, the pork jowl, and Chon’s choice for a sleeper hit — the thinly sliced spicy pork belly. Hungry diners be warned: most Baekjeong locations draw long wait times, which often grow to multiple hours on weekends.

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