The parent company behind popular Korean barbecue restaurants Jongro BBQ and Dons Bogam may be plotting a food hall in Midtown.
KFF Inc., described by the Commercial Observer as an “Asian superstore and food hall,” recently signed a 15-year lease at 218 West 40th St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, taking up nearly 23,000 square feet over three floors. The owner is KFF executive Kyung Kim Choi, according to real estate company Savitt Partners, which owns the building and brokered the deal.
A call to the owner went straight to voicemail.
KFF already has a steady foothold in Manhattan’s K-Town. Jongro BBQ, located on the second floor above a Citibank on 32nd Street, has also expanded to the fifth floor of the same building. And an additional two restaurants, Dons Bogam and Dons Bogam Black, sit on the other side of Fifth Avenue as well as on 30th and Fifth.
KFF’s new lease comprises three floors in a 12-story building farther west. The lease includes more than 10,000 square feet on the ground floor, 5,500 square feet on the mezzanine floor, and 7,500 square feet in the basement, according to the Commercial Observer.
High rents and policies in Korea have long pushed mom and pop stores out of the Korea Town, instead attracting chains from big, deep-pocketed conglomerates. Restaurants like Jongro BBQ have expanded upwards into the higher floors of buildings, like in Seoul, while others like Dons Bogam have expanded beyond 32nd Street and into neighboring streets.
Eater has reached out for more information. Stay tuned.