Korean fried chicken joint Bonchon has First Hill plans

Such is life in the swiftly changing core of Seattle. We had no Korean fried chicken joints. Now we’re about to have two.

Despite the corporate parents insisting there are “no plans” to open in Seattle, CHS can report that efforts are just getting underway to build out a new, first-in-the-Pacific Northwest location of Korean chicken chain Bonchon at the corner of Broadway and James, across the street from the southwest corner of the Seattle University campus.

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The restaurant is being planned to occupy the corner retail space of First Hill’s newly constructed Zig Apartments. The Zig project was iced for years after the economic downturn before being revived in early 2016. The corner of Broadway and James has housed tasty fast food before. Yasuko’s Teriyaki and El Mestizo called the 1906-built, two-story, 4-unit masonry apartment that stood there previously home. The teriyaki restaurant’s owner Yasuko Conner also owned the old building and sold to developers in 2011 for $3,339,000, according to county records.

The global Bonchon chain was born in South Korea in 2002 before expanding internationally a few years later with a start in New Jersey and New York. It now boasts more than 80 locations and has a robust franchising system in place. “‘Bonchon'” means ‘my hometown’ and is an homage to the company’s roots in Busan, South Korea,” the franchisee packet reads. “We are famous around the world for our signature fried chicken, which is double-fried with one of two secret sauces. Despite Bonchon’s growing presence around the world, our name ensures we never lose sight of our roots.”

There are more than 200 Bonchon restaurants in nine countries including both corporate and franchise owned locations, according to the company. “The Initial Franchise Fee to open a Bonchon store is $40,000, and the initial investment varies from $400,000 to $700,000 depending on numerous factors, such as restaurant size and location to name a few,” if you’re keeping track.

We’ve reached out to the company and what appears to be local ownership to learn more about plans and timeframe for the Broadway and James restaurant.

When it does debut, Seattle U kids will have to decide whether to walk north or south for their fried chicken fix. In December, Seattle’s Bok a Bok expanded from its White Center original to add a new location next to Neumo’s.

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