Feeding the Sharks

Hot Austin restaurant has Houston plans after Shark Tank investment

Hot Austin restaurant has Houston plans after Shark Tank investment

Chi'Lantro Kimchi Fries
Chi'Lantro's kimchi fries could be returning to Houston thanks to Shark Tank. Chi'Lantro/Facebook

Korean barbecue favorite Chi'Lantro is the latest Shark Tank success story from Austin. Founder Jae Kim appeared on Friday's episode of the ABC show to pitch his award-winning food truck, restaurant, and catering concept to big-name investors.

He hooked a deal with real estate maven Barbara Corcoran and will receive $600,000 in exchange for 20 percent equity in the growing restaurant endeavor, which is on track to reach $6 million in sales this year.

"Barbara is the perfect person for Chi'Lantro's growth," said Kim in a release. "She values the culture of Chi'Lantro and sees and trusts my vision to grow our company into a billion-dollar company. Barbara grew her company from having nothing, so she was able to relate [to] how I continue to grow my company today."

In just six years Kim has grown Chi'Lantro from a lone food truck to a successful chain with four brick-and-mortar locations in Austin, as well as a catering department and kimchi facility. With the investment, Kim looks to expand across Texas and beyond. The first stop? A restaurant in Houston. 

Although the Chi'Lantro truck pulled out of the Houston market due to mechanical issues in late 2014, Kim told the Houston Business Journal that he sees opportunity in the Bayou City. "Houston's a great market to be in because there are so many foodies," Kim said. "I think we fit really well." 

This isn't the only food truck to hook big money on the hit show. Cousins Maine Lobster scored a $55,000 investment from Corcoran that allowed it expand nationwide. In less than two years, Houston franchisee Neil Werner has grown the business to three trucks and two permanent locations at Deacon Baldy's in Magnolia and Bernie's Backyard in Spring.