Come July, you can have two houses: the one where you sleep, and the one where you eat Korean food.
A new restaurant, Korean House, will serve the country’s classic dishes on College Street in the space previously occupied by Aqua Café and, before that, Fiore’s Italian Ristorante.
Aqua closed a couple of weeks ago, and the owners of Korean House have been renovating since then.
Aqua co-owner Luis Prieto, who also owns the Los Nenes bakeries in West Asheville and Swananoa, says the Mexican restaurant didn’t stay busy enough. “We didn’t have too many people there,” he explains. “We have a lot of businesses, and it was hard to keep both open.”
Korean House is the project of a brother-and-sister, Kristina and Jayson Im. They moved to Asheville from New York just about a year and a half ago. Kristina is a co-owner at Stone Bowl, and Jayson worked there, too.
“We’re shooting for a mid-July grand opening,” Jayson says.
The restaurant will span both the basement and the ground level of the building, Kristina says.
At Korean House, they’ll focus on an array of classic dishes, not just dolsot bibimbap, the fried rice dish served in a sizzling earthenware bowl. “At Stone Bowl, we didn’t really try to make the stone bowls our main thing, but it kind of turned out to be with the restaurant name being Stone Bowl and all,” Jayson says. “Stone bowls are still one of the most traditional dishes in Korea, so we’ll definitely have that on our menu. … We’re going to have all the authentic, traditional Korean dishes.”
Korean House will add another country’s cuisine to to downtown’s culinary offerings, which Jayson says he’s excited about.