July 9, 2012
Tako Korean BBQ to open Friday, with a marriage of cuisines

The last time I talked with Alex Won and his business partner, Yoon Hee Cho, was in 2006. The occasion was a "Counter Culture" review of their Folsom Boulevard 'cue joint, Yunece 61 Smoked Barbecue & Grill.

On its menu, crispy spring rolls, taquitos and teriyaki salmon met hickory-smoked pork and beef ribs, tri-tip and hot links. An intriguing blend of cuisines, a curiosity at the time. The food was tops, and the restaurant had a good run before its not-so-good location finally did it in.

Now Won and Cho have re-teamed to create Tako Korean BBQ, opening Friday at the intersection of Alhambra Boulevard and T Street.

It will be housed in an architecturally stunning, long-abandoned Richfield gas station, an Art Deco-Moderne historic landmark that opened in 1936. The inside has been refurbished, of course, and a large patio has been added. The outside of the building has been cleaned up and - wisely - pretty much preserved. The restaurant's retro logo is a salute to the classic American gas stations of decades gone by, Won said.

The menu will show the type of fare that helped launch the red-hot food-truck movement that originated in Los Angeles and spread throughout California.

"The concept is Korean barbecue meets Mexican-style foods like tortillas and burritos," Won said on the phone today. "(The specialty) will be Korean beef short ribs served in tacos, burritos and rice bowls."

Beer and wine? "Our license is coming," Won said.

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