Sleek 12 year-old Soho Korean restaurant Woo Lae Oak will close at the end of the month. A rep for the restaurant, which has been credited for bringing Korean food to those unfamiliar with the fare and intimidated by Koreatown, tells Eater that they weren't able to renegotiate their lease at 148 Mercer St.
Since its opening in 1999, Woo Lae Oak has spawned many an offshoot in other cities, and its sister restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, Bann, remains open. See below for the restaurant's letter to its patrons.
After 12 memorable years in business Woo Lae Oak in Soho will be closing at the end of May. Sadly we were unable to renegotiate our lease further so our last day of business is scheduled for Sunday, May 29, 2011.
During this time we have had the great pleasure of introducing New Yorkers to “Creative Korean Cuisine” and would like to thank everyone for their continuing support and patronage throughout the many years. While we will no longer be operating in Soho, diners can still find their favorite dishes and Korean barbeque at our sister restaurant, Bann. It’s a small trek to Midtown West but we look forward to welcoming back familiar faces.
Since opening in 1999, Woo Lae Oak has become the premier Korean restaurant in New York. It has been the flagship for a group of restaurants developed by owner Young Sook Choi, highly regarded as the pioneer in introducing Korean cuisine to Westerners. For over 25 years Mrs. Choi has worked to modernize Korean cuisine and to develop a style of dining unique to her group of restaurants which have found great success in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and New York. She is currently focused on expanding her new group of restaurants, Bann.
· Woo Lae Oak [Official Site]