ST. PETERSBURG — By now, a good deal of Tampa Bay diners are acquainted with their crispy, crunchy Korean-fried chicken wings. Their bulgogi and queso-topped tater tots have amassed anything akin to a cult subsequent. And for the earlier several yrs, Anju Korean Gastrotruck has been a regular visual appearance at foodstuff festivals, weddings, place of work parties and neighborhood breweries.
Commencing following week, the pair behind the common food stuff truck will open their initial standalone restaurant, Anju, in St. Petersburg.
Spouse-and-spouse duo Mee Ae and Dan Wolney began their small business out of a stationary trailer in 2014 immediately after going from their dwelling in Colorado to the Tampa Bay location. Mee Ae Wolney, who is at first from South Korea, attended culinary school in Boulder and worked at places to eat in Colorado before the pair made a decision to open up up a business of their personal. Their stationary shop rapidly morphed into a cellular gig, and the meals truck has garnered a big area following.
The time period Anju refers to drinking snacks — salty, spicy and crunchy dishes often eaten alongside one another with liquor — and can array from savory, fried treats to spicy stews and finger food items. The concept proved a popular healthy with Florida’s booming brewery scene and the truck turned a common on the neighborhood festival scene.
But, just like the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the cafe business, it is thrown a wrench into the regional food stuff truck business, with several operators locating that their marriage ceremony, festival and celebration enterprise disappeared right away.
“It’s been a struggle,” Mee Ae Wolney claimed. “Basically, they canceled anything. I had to promptly feel on my ft and figure this out: Do I shell out much more revenue to open a storefront, or do I consider two measures again and shut down?”
The couple had normally talked about opening their very own restaurant, so when a place on 16th Street N and 30th Avenue opened up, they determined to get the plunge. Opening a cafe in the center of a pandemic nevertheless feels like a bit of a gamble, Wolney admits. But working a brick-and-mortar would seem like a safer bet than relying on the hit-or-skip foods truck scheduling suitable now.
“We’re obviously heading to really feel the effects of this for some time,” she explained. “And I experience like the only way to go is to shift forward.”
To start, Wolney says they will do takeout only, commencing on Oct. 14. Ultimately, within the subsequent month, she hopes to open with confined capacity dine-in assistance. The creating at 2827 16th St. N was formerly home to M-N-M BBQ and will characteristic a dining place inside with seating for around 48 folks at tables and an added 18 seats all around the bar.
The menu will be a familiar sight for a lot of of the truck’s loyal enthusiasts: crunchy Korean-fried hen wings and boneless “K-pops,” served in either a garlicky soy sauce or the spicy St. Pete Heat elixir bibimbap BOP bowls, topped with grilled and marinated rib-eye steak, vegetables, spicy kimchi and an over-uncomplicated egg served on sticky rice tater tots topped with Korean beef bulgogi, white cheddar queso, grilled kimchi and crushed peanuts and the Osaka tots, seasoned with Japanese mayonnaise, sweet barbecue sauce, aonori (dried seaweed), bonito (dried, fermented tuna flakes), bacon, scallions and pickled red ginger.
Wolney explained they will probably start out including far more menu objects soon after the opening, like steamed buns, dumplings and Korean corn puppies. Once the cafe opens for dine-in assistance, there will also be a rotating record of beer, wine and eventually sake and soju cocktails.
To begin, Anju will be open for lunch and dinner, Wednesdays via Saturdays and will at some point increase to involve Sunday brunch.
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