After operating out of a small space in Long Island City’s Bricktown Bagel, the owners of Korean Style Fried Chicken (KSFC) have ventured out on their own to open a poke and Korean fried chicken restaurant.
Katie Kim, 29, and Sam Kim, 30, opened PokeLICious at 5-37 51st Ave. on Dec. 16. The duo, who are not related, have lived in Long Island City for five years and wanted to introduce their take on poke and Korean food to the area.
“We like to help grow our neighborhood and we also like to serve our Korean food and food that we can serve to our neighbors,” Sam Kim said. “There are not [many] restaurants [in the area]. There are a lot of bars [but] not [many] restaurants where you can serve food.”
Though they both enjoyed running KSFC, which as primarily a take-out spot, Katie Kim’s love of poke spurred her to open a place where both dishes could be served. In the mornings and for lunch, customers can purchase a variety of poke bowls.
For dinner, Korean fried chicken and rice bowls will be served along with beer. The Beer Closet, which operated in the same space, will continue to offer its selection of beers at PokeLICious, and the duo hopes to have KSFC up and running at the location by the end of February.
Customers can choose between five poke bowls, from a small bowl, which costs $10.95 and comes with three scoops of protein, to a large bowl for $12.95, which comes with five scoops of protein.
Poke (pronounced po-kay) is a raw fish salad that originated in Hawaii. It has become popular nationwide, partly because of the recent pivot by Americans to eat healthier food, Katie Kim said.
PokeLICious’ menu is strongly inspired by the duo’s love of traveling. Each bowl is named after a city they have visited and includes ingredients that are popular in each country’s dishes. For example, the Tokyo poke bowl includes ginger and eel sauce while the Mexico City poke bowl includes pico de gallo, mango and pineapple.
“Other poke places, they offer spicy tuna, [which is] classic poke but we’re different from the other places [in that] our signature bowl is based off of the countries [that have] famous seasoning and food,” Katie Kim said.
Patrons will also be able to create their own bowls and choose from different bases like green tea white rice and from a plethora of seasonings, toppings, sauces and garnishes. In the spring, PokeLICious will also offer fresh juices.
Sam Kim will still keep his day job as a real estate broker and Katie Kim will work on PokeLICious full time. She said that she has always wanted to work in the food industry and encourages others who are interested to pursue it.
“We’ve been always wanting to go into the food industry,” Katie Kim said. “We’re really young and we don’t have a lot of money, but that’s how we started with Bricktown Bagels. If you’re really interested in the food industry, there’s always an option even if you don’t have that much money. People think that if you want to operate a restaurants it costs a lot of money but there’s always a way.”
PokeLICious is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., but that will change when KSFC begins to operate.