A Museum District staple will soon fry its last order of chicken wings. Dak & Bop will close on Memorial Day, owner Jason Cho tells CultureMap. Until then, it will continue to serve diners for delivery and to-go.
Simply put, Cho opted not to renew his lease in the Parc Binz building for another six year term. Citing the implications of the coronavirus, Cho says the approximately 2,500-square-foot space is exactly the wrong size for social distancing — too big to operate as to-go only and too small to accommodate enough tables 6 feet apart to be viable.
“It’s a decision I don’t want to make, but I have to consider the future scope of the restaurant industry and what’s going to be required,” Cho says. “Whether that’s a bigger space so I can space out the tables or a smaller space like Wingstop.”
Open since 2015, the original Dak & Bop offers Korean fried chicken alongside Mexican-inspired dishes like empanadas plus craft beer and cocktails. Casual and intimate, the restaurant quickly became a staple in an area that still doesn’t have many dining options outside of Dak & Bop's immediate neighbors, Barnaby's and Fadi's.
Cho has a number of ideas for keeping Dak & Bop in or near the neighborhood, including finding a new location at a cheaper rate or relaunching the concept as a food truck. For now, Dak & Bop’s second location in Lazybrook/Timbergrove will feature a special “O.G. menu” with some of the original location’s most popular fare.
“I’m trying to be as creative as possible,” Cho says. “We do have a loyal fanbase. I’d hate to take it away [completely] or blend it with the other concept.”
In the meantime, Cho will concentrate on Dak & Bop’s larger second location, which is open for to-go. He’s also working to open an outpost of South Korean coffee shop Tom N Toms in the Galleria area and Karne, an upscale Korean steakhouse, in The Heights. Still, he feels a sense of loyalty to the Museum District for providing him with his first opportunity to own a restaurant.
“I’m very appreciative of the area and having the opportunity to start my first restaurant in that area,” Cho says.