Wes Yoo has been building his restaurant Wero since the pandemic began. In 2018, the chef took over The Gerald, a Ballard Avenue gastropub. But when covid arrived and he started eating a lot of food from his native Korea to cope with the stress, Yoo began serving Korean dishes at The Gerald, then transformed it officially into a comfort food–centric dinner spot called Wero, a Korean word that translates to “comfort.”
Since Wero opened last year it has become known for its impressive cocktail and mocktail menu as well as its smoked sausages and ssam platters. Now Yoo is launching a lunch service called Bapshim by Wero focused on rice bowls.
“Bapshim is a Korean word literally meaning ‘rice power,’” Yoo says in a press release. “Koreans use this word often to describe how, for Koreans, it doesn’t feel like we’ve really eaten a meal unless we had some rice.”
The menu at Bapshim is different from Wero’s dinner menu — the turnaround time is faster and entrees are cheaper, $15 to $20 for a rice bowl. This is very much a fast casual restaurant, and customers can choose protein, type of rice, and a variety of toppings. (The whole menu is gluten free.)
Yoo has already quietly launched Bapshim as a to-go business (you can order now via DoorDash and UberEats), and intends to open the space for lunch within the next month, staffing and construction permitting.
“The menu is small as the business is small,” Yoo says, “but more options will be added quickly.”
And if casual lunch dining isn’t your thing, Yoo also says that he’s working on some tasting menus. The more Wero we can get, the better.