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The restaurant scene took a big hit last year when Newt's and Hefe Rojo closed their 1st Ave locations but those buildings weren't vacant for long.

About 6-months ago Sammi Loo, owner of Mezza 9 Cafe and Ootori Sushi, announced big plans to bring new flavors to the downtown area.  Check out some of the featured menu items below.

Soap Operas Were The Inspiration Behind This Minnesota Restaurant

BEBAP (pronounced "be-bop") Korean Inspired Eatery opened last week. And, soap operas served as the inspiration. Sammi Loo (pictured below) said, her favorite K-dramas made her crave Korean food.

CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
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“When I’m watching Korean shows, it makes me crave the food! After watching them, I always wished I could eat right away. If I finished an episode of Let’s Eat and wanted classic Korean street food like tteokbokki - food hot and spicy simmered rice cake, with a light, savory base of eomukguk, I could not have it, because we did not have a Korean restaurant in town. That’s what made me have the idea to open this
Korean-inspired eatery”
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
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Korean cuisine consists of various rice dishes with vegetables, seafood, and meat and are often served with kimchi. Other key ingredients include sesame oil, doenjang (fermented bean paste), gochugaru (dried chili peppers), and gochujang (fermented chili paste).

CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
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BEBAP has a seasonal menu, featuring recipes designed for late fall through winter, spring through summer, and late summer through early fall.

The upcoming winter menu will feature hearty dishes like kimchi-jjigae, a kimchi stew with pork belly and tofu, and galbitang, a soup made with beef short ribs.

CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
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The restaurant's bar serves a variety of Korean-inspired cocktails and Korean specialty soft drinks.

CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW | Tiffany Alexa
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BEBAP Korean Inspired Eatery is located at 216 1st Ave SW, Rochester.

Regular Hours (Starting Monday, October 30):

  • Monday to Thursday - 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday - 11 a.m. to 11 p.m

All 37 Minnesota Restaurants that Have Been Featured on the Food Network

Many Minnesota restaurants have been featured on the Food Network over the years. Some have closed now, but I checked out the Food Networks website, the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives website, and TVFoodMaps.com to find all of the Minnesota restaurants that have been featured on their channel in the past and found these 37 (in no particular order) that are still open.

Gallery Credit: Carly Ross

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