Downtown Springfield Korean restaurant has big hopes and new liquor license for 2018

SPRINGFIELD -- Sun Young Kim has been serving Korean style food from a mobile truck since 2013, has expanded her business to a downtown restaurant she opened in April and now is expecting to expand her restaurant's hours with a new liquor license.

The city's License Commission in a meeting last week voted unanimously to grant a beer and wine license for Kim's restaurant, Sun Kim Bop, located at 1244 Main St. The restaurant is across the street from the MassMutual Center and less than a block from the MGM Springfield casino under construction.

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch six days a week and serves dinner until 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.

Kim Bop is a popular picnic food in Korea, a sort of sushi roll but made with cucumber and other vegetables with spicy Korean barbecue beef.

Kim said she will consider expanding the hours after the beer and wine license is received and she evaluates business.

"I have a big hope for the coming spring," Kim said while preparing for the busy lunchtime hour Friday. "We want to do more business in the dinner time."

The beer and wine license is "a new idea to me, but I felt it will help especially at dinner time," Kim said.

Regarding the past four years of building her business, she said "it was so quick, it kind of flew."

The restaurant has many healthy options on its menu and reasonable prices, Kim said.

Her most popular dish is probably the Bibim Bop bowl, described on her menu as a quintessential Korean dish with a bed of rice topped with a sunny-side-up egg, with a collection of fresh vegetables and a protein of either barbecued beef, chicken, pork or tofu. Another signature dish is Korean barbecued short ribs, and there are an assortment of daily specials.

Bibim Bop offers such vegetables as sauteed mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, pickled radishes, carrots, red peppers, bean sprouts and seaweed, and is topped with gochujang sauce, a red chili paste.

She is assisted by two full-time employees, including manager Corey Smith, and a part-time employee. Kim plans to resume the food truck business when the warmer weather arrives while also focusing on the restaurant.

A large amount of daytime business at the restaurant comes from the people who work downtown including workers from nearby locations such as City Hall at Court Square and the Roderick Ireland Courthouse on lower State Street, Kim said.