The chef and owner behind Korilla BBQ are suing two former employees for allegedly attacking them to the point of bruises and trauma to the eyes — an incident following the employees’ accusation that they’re owed money, according to a complaint.
Chef Esther Choi and Korilla BBQ owner Edward Song were out celebrating on New Year’s Day when they were met with a “gang-style” attack led by Stephan Park and Paul Lee, who used to work for Song at his Korean barbecue food truck, as first reported by the Post. The alleged attackers confronted the couple with up to five others outside Choi’s bar Ms Yoo at 163 Allen St., Choi says.
Choi tells Eater that the group “camped outside” the bar and waited for them to leave after seeing on social media that her and Song were there. She says the attack was “terrifying.” The lawsuit states that the attackers allegedly struck them with their fists, feet, and other items, resulting in bruises, lacerations, and trauma to the eyes. Both Choi and Song were hospitalized following the incident, court documents state.
The couple claims that Park and Lee have been stalking them due to a business dispute, the suit says. Park and Lee had previously filed their own lawsuit against Song in 2017, claiming that they’re owed money from Korilla’s food truck business.
Both men were arrested in the incident. Lee pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and Park’s case was sealed, according to the Post’s report. Choi and Song are seeking $250,000 each.
“We have aggressively defended our client against any claims of wrongdoing and continue to pursue our counterclaims in the civil court case,” the couple’s lawyer Kevin O’Donoghue tells Eater. “This action for damages is about the bad faith taken by these individuals to circumvent the court system and seek their own illegal form of justice.”
Song’s fast-casual restaurant Korilla BBQ began as a popular food truck and landed its first permanent location in the East Village in 2014. That location closed last year, but another one exists in downtown Brooklyn. Choi also owns Mokbar and Ms Yoo.
Disclosure: Esther Choi currently hosts Eater’s Kitchen Gadgets show.