Fairlane is a devout Asian entertainment fan. On the side, she is a professional screenwriter and author.
South Korea is known for its glamorous and healthy entertainment industry, but it’s also commonly known for being a country that values entrepreneurship. This is why many of its celebrities invest the money they earn from performing. One of the more common businesses they invest in is restaurants.
10 Korean Restaurants Owned by Celebrities
Niel (Ahn Daniel)
Little Tin Drums
Park Shin Hye
Super Junior Yesung
CAFFE 秀 SOO
Miss A’s Suzy
Taeil Korean BBQ
#1 Teen Top's Niel Cafe DaNi
Café Dani (which is named after Niel himself, since his real name is Ahn Daniel) offers various drinks selected by Niel himself. Sometimes (although very rarely due to his busy schedule), NieL himself visits the café and treats himself, but he is also willing to serve some lucky customers if he’s there.
#2 Kang Ho-dong’s Yook-Chil-Pal (678)
Former wrestler and current MC/Comedian Kang Ho Dong’s restaurant specializes in barbecued meat. Be prepared to have the restaurant’s catchy theme song stuck in your head: “When you think about pork, 6-7-8, when you think about beef, 6-7-8… what Kang Ho Dong eats everyday!”
Aside from the premium jeju island beef being its main selling point, visitors of 678 should try their galbi-jjim, which is a spicy Korean pot roast made with bone-in rib meat.
678 has branches in various parts of the world (including Los Angeles CA), but the main branch is at 46-1, Eoulmadang-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul.
#3 Park Shin Hye's Little Tin Drums
While technically owned and managed by Park Shin Hye’s parents, Little Tin Drums is still the go-to place if you’re a fan of the actress. The walls are covered with posters and pictures of Shin Hye, and the actress herself is a frequent visitor. Just be warned that there is an unspoken rule in the restaurant: respect Shin Hye’s privacy, so no taking of pictures or asking of autographs (it is her mother’s restaurant, after all.)
The restaurant is part of a franchise that is known for barbecued pork intestines, so if you want to try the best that the place has to offer, definitely order those. You can also try their noodles with roasted intestines if BBQ is not your thing.
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Seoul Gangdong-gu, SeoNae-dong 548-3
#4 HaHa’s 401
Formerly a branch of Pal Ja Mak Chang, Haha’s 401 is a Korean BBQ restaurant that uses reggae-inspired decorations and Haha memorabilia as designs. Like with many Korean BBQ restaurants, the waiters will help customers grill the pork. Haha on rare occasions visits the restaurant and helps with the grilling.
- Ever since the rebrand, 401 has streamlined its BBQ selections as intestines and expensive parts of black pork were removed from the menu, but it still offers some of the best BBQ black pork, which goes along with the vegetable side dish and cold kimchi noodles.
- Pricing is decent, as a person is likely to spend 27,000 won per head (which will include a bottle of soju.)
Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, 395-17. From Hongik University Station Exit 9, the place is just opposite of Sang Sang Ma Dang art exhibition hall.
#5 Leessang's Paljamakchang
As the name implies, LeeSsang’s Pal ja mak chang specializes in Mak Chang, which is pork intestines. Since the restaurant uses a wide assortment of Leessang memorabilia as interior décor, it can’t be helped that the place has taken on a hip-hop feel in terms of visuals. The owners do visit and they serve the guests, but the occasions are very rare due to their busy schedules and the fact that they have two branches.
- Barbecued pork intestines, and they also offer various parts of black pig. Grilling is the primary method of cooking, and like many grills, the waiters will grill for you if you ask.
- The prices are decent, and surprisingly inexpensive if you believe that having a celebrity as the owner commands a higher price—a meal for 2 people (consisting of 2 sides of rice, 2 orders of samgyapsal and an order of pork intestines) cost 2700 won (or $27 US).
48-20 Hwayang-dong (52 Dongil-ro 22-gil)
Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, South Korea
#6 B2ST Yoseob's Chilk Naengmyun
Yoseob’s parents own the place but the interior is designed around him, with the small but comfy interiors having its own Yoseob shrine (which includes pictures of baby Yoseob). The place is technically a noodle house, as implied by its name.
Naengmyun, which is a Korean noodle dish consisting of thin and long handmade noodles made from flour, starch, buckwheat, and sweet potatoes. It’s a delicacy that’s been enjoyed by Koreans as far back as the Joseon Dynasty.
38-6 Wolgye-dong, Nowon-gu, Seoul
Note that at time of writing, the restaurant is closed due to contract/rent difficulties, but Yoseob’s parents have promised to come back with new ideas after resting, most likely at a new location.
#7 Super Junior Yesung's Babtol’s
Babtol’s is a restaurant that Super Junior’s Yesung bought for his parents. As expected, the place is decorated with Super Junior memorabilia, and is frequented by fans. Unlike many celebrity-owned restaurants that focus on Korean cuisine, Babtol’s has a decidedly Western influence, combining its cuisine with the usual Korean offerings.
Yesung only rarely visits, so don’t expect to see any fruits of your labor if you decide to camp at the place. However, it is personally managed by his parents and they are very gracious of their son’s fans, so you can still visit and have a little bit of chat with them if you can't get enough of Yesung.
- Babtol’s most popular offering is their omelet rice, which provides a twist to the usual kimbap omelet rice, as it also infuses western styles in both the ingredients and the presentation.
- The price is inexpensive even if you compare it to a non celebrity-themed establishment—the aforementioned omelet rice is big enough to feed two people (technically it’s a single serving, but it’s a HUGE serving.) and is only worth 6500 won.
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Seokyo Dong, 343-2
#8 Se7en's Yeolbong Jjimdak
Yeolbong Jjimdak is a chicken-oriented restaurant owned by Se7en. Unlike other celebrity restaurants on this list, he doesn’t make regular visits (probably because of his busy schedule—he was recently doing his service for the military) but the place is regularly visited by other Korean celebrities like SNSD’s Yoona, and Rain (which could either mean that the food is really good or that these celebrities are close friends and loyal supporters of Se7en).
- Yeolbong Jjimdak’s specialty is braised chicken, but the one new visitors should try out is the Andong jjimdak, which is a braised chicken marinated in ganjang (Korean fermented soybean based sauce) and boiled over high heat. Be warned that even though you can specify the level of spicyness (1 to 3), even the lowest level is too hot for non-chili eaters.
- The price of a small andong chicken is not cheap, as it costs around 23000 won, but it can feed 2—4 people, depending on the side dishes ordered.
Daehyun 27-4, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
#9 Miss A’s Suzy’s CAFFE 秀 SOO
A café that is run by her parents, Caffe Soo is completely Suzy themed as pictures, posters, and all sorts of Suzy memorabilia adorn the walls. Suzy herself is a regular (though infrequent) visitor, so you can be lucky enough to see her in person during a visit.
- It was originally a small Korean snack bar but Suzy used her earnings to renovate it into a cozy café. It’s offering the usual beverages and food you can expect from a café, and while they’re good, they’re not out of the ordinary. The main draw of the place is that it’s basically a Suzy museum. The atmosphere is also warm and more personal compared to the usual celebrity restaurants that are noisy and always busy.
- The price is surprisingly cheaper compared to other cafes—even non-celebrity ones. It retains the mom-and-pop shop prices that Suzy’s parents’ snack bar had before their daughter became famous.
130, Myeonang Road, Buk-gu, Gwangju
#10 BlockB Taeil Korean BBQ
Even before Block B was formed, Taeil’s family was already running a Korean BBQ restaurant, and the name is somewhat unimaginative but effective: it’s simply named “Korean BBQ.” As with many celebrity-owned restaurants, Korean BBQ’s interior and exterior is adorned with the celebrity’s memorabilia.
- As the name implies, the place’s specialty is Korean BBQ, even though Taeil himself admits that he’s tired of eating BBQ, so the restaurant’s menu is varied, offering non-BBQ food as well.
- Price is decent, considering that it was already in business before Taiel became a celebrity and would have had to compete on price and service alone.