Fans of Korean fried chicken can rejoice: Bonchon, a crispy Korean bird specialist, has finally landed in Colorado. Guests can hit up the small shop in Northfield Stapleton and indulge in spicy fried wings, udon noodle soup, buldak, takoyaki and other fast-casual Korean dishes.
"I've lived in Colorado for about four years and could never find a good Korean fried chicken spot," says owner Henry Lee, who runs the shop with his wife, Jane Li. "So we wanted to open a place to eat this good food and listen to good music and have a drink."
After moving to Colorado from Los Angeles, Lee, who was once a consultant for Microsoft, decided to switch careers so that he could share one of his favorite dishes with the rest of the city. He chose Northfield for the first Colorado location of Bonchon — yes, he has plans to open more — because he wanted to be in a hip, growing neighborhood with young professionals and families.
The original Bonchon opened in Busan, South Korea, in 2002, and arrived stateside in 2006 to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Soon after, a flagship restaurant opened in New York City, and now there are approximately 200 Bonchon shops around the world. The menu is the same at each location: Korean fried chicken wings and strips, Korean fusion dishes and traditional plates such as bibimbap, fried rice and chicken katsu.
The same is true at the first Colorado Bonchon, though Lee says that the wings at his restaurant are bigger than standard. That, and the drink list includes dessert cocktails created by bartender Lisa Sin, as well as a black raspberry sangria that uses a Korean raspberry wine — a favorite of her mother's, says Sin.
Even though the setup is fast-casual, expect to wait about thirty minutes for your order of fried chicken. Each batch is made to order and gets doubled-fried, a technique that makes Korean fried chicken unique and gives it that paper-thin, crackly crust. You can have your chicken tossed in sweet soy garlic sauce or spicy sauce. Order half and half to try both; just don't ask for sauce on the side — it's a rule at Bonchon that helps maintain the quality of the chicken, according to the company.
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Visit Bonchon Stapleton at 8302 East Northfield Boulevard Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight. Call 303-248-3220 or peruse Bonchon's website for menus and other details.