Klucked Up Café held its grand opening on Monday, March 14. The former American Deli restaurant was transformed to a haven of Korean-American food. Restaurant owner, Peter Choe, infuses native Korean ingredients into his chicken wing sauces to ease American’s into Korean cuisine.
“I want Americans to taste Korean flavors without them being scared to try it,” said Choe. “Panda Express developed a menu that Americans weren’t scared to try; I want to do the same thing with Korean food.”
With most Korean restaurants in America being catered predominately to Koreans, Choe saw the opportunity to start a new type of restaurant.
“If you go to a real Chinese restaurant, they don’t serve General Tso chicken and sesame chicken; they have roasted duck, flipped clam and egg noodles, said Choe.”
While traditional Korean food may be a little off-putting to those with an unexperienced palate, the hybrid of Korean and American food is a great chance for Americans to fall in love with Korean meals.
In addition to using Korean ingredients, Klucked Up Café features a smoothie bar, where they serve smoothies, lemonade and Boba tea, a tea-based smoothie native to Asian culture, often called bubble tea.
Klucked Up Café has only been open for a few weeks, but it is already giving other chicken wing restaurants in the area some healthy competition. Customers are drawn to the unique name, which Choe chose specifically to market the one of a kind establishment.
“Fake cuss words are a thing right now,” said Choe. “Being around a university, I took a common phrase students use—‘Let’s get f**** up.’—and focused it on chicken because there are so many ways you can prepare it, and the K is for Korean.”
The only challenge Choe has faced since opening day is teaching people how to use his menu. Klucked Up Café does not have a formal menu with numbered specials and traditional names for dishes, but rather all of the chicken wing sauces have unique names, such as “Boom Nuked” instead of hot or “Heated” for a mild sauce with just a little kick.
“I make all of my sauces, including dipping sauce, in house, so having these altered names and explaining what sauce is what can be challenging.”
Klucked Up ’Café’s menu features different steps in the order process. A customer will start at step one with the question, “How do you want to eat it?” and the menu lists the different combo options available. It proceeds to step four after selecting the type of meat, sauce and side to accompany the entrée.
“There isn’t a place like Klucked Up in Carrollton,” said Gabriel Grigsby, a customer who returned everyday on his lunch break for a week. “The food is great, but the service is even better.”
At Klucked Up Café, southern hospitality is incorporated into the customer service. Customers are greeted by every employee in the lobby. Every customer is encouraged to sample the chicken wing sauces, free of charge, to help make their decision.
“I was born and raised in Atlanta,” said Choe. “Southern hospitality is almost completely gone there. This is going to sound weird, but food is second to me; customer service is first.”
“Customer service isn’t required unless a customer is upset,” continued Choe. “If a customer’s food came out late or came out wrong, it’s our job to figure out how we can correct that to make the customer happy, so they’ll come back and say they were good to me at Klucked Up.”