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HomeFoodParachute, Chicago’s Revered Korean Restaurant, Is Rebranding

Parachute, Chicago’s Revered Korean Restaurant, Is Rebranding


Chicago diners, together with these within the Korean neighborhood all throughout the U.S., mourned final month’s closure of Parachute, the tip of a 10-year run. However this summer time, Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark will attempt once more to inject new vitality into the Avondale area by rebranding and introducing an off-the-cuff restaurant that doesn’t require reservations in hopes it would draw extra clients within the quickly altering neighborhood.

“You possibly can’t open one other door earlier than you shut one door,” Kim stated in March, the day after she made the Parachute closure announcement. “I see it as a rebirth. Now, everybody is aware of the story concerning the Phoenix — I even have one tattooed on my arm — but it surely’s about like, , every part has a cycle. You realize, every part has a season.”

For a pair who has a toddler named Bowie, it’s not shocking that music will play an enormous function within the revered restaurant’s alternative, known as Parachute Hello-Fi. A few of the music will come from the couple’s report assortment — they’re even dusting off their CDs. They’ll convert the previously Michelin-starred eating room permitting the bar — and the Korean spirit sool — to play a extra outstanding function. A information launch suggests cocktails could use eccentric components like parmesan and octopus.

In March, Kim stated they have been “able to have enjoyable with the Parachute umbrella,” Kim talked about how the pandemic has impacted buyer habits and that’s pressured eating places to adapt.

“I believe that this yr might be an enormous yr for lots of eating places to determine, , do you keep the identical path that you simply have been 10 years in the past or is it time for a renewal — a brand new thought, a brand new factor?” Kim says.

The menu will include Korean flavors, however may also diverge. They’ll pay tribute to the Pizza Puff, a Chicago invention. However maybe they’ll use a special time period; Italco just lately threatened Daisies with a stop and desist letter by way of a message to the Logan Sq. restaurant’s Instagram account. Daisies determined to rebrand its pastry as a calzone to keep away from a possible battle with the Pizza Puff police. Past Parachute Hello-Fi’s pizza pastry — which will probably be full of pepperoni and kimchi — different pattern dishes embrace a fish filet sandwich with uni-tartar sauce, king oyster mushroom skewers, and uncooked fish and oysters.

Hello-Fi isn’t the primary time Clark and Kim have diverged from Parachute’s unique components. After an prolonged two-year hiatus as a result of pandemic, Parachute reopened in spring 2022 with a brand new menu and light-weight renovations. On the time, Kim stated she needed to focus on a extra Korean menu fairly than Korean American. Earlier than that, COVID precautions drove Kim and Clark to supply takeout and supply with the state shutting down indoor eating. In Might 2021, they unveiled two particular pizzas benefitting Asians Individuals Advancing Justice. This pie featured a crab Rangoon crust and a shrimp alfredo sauce. One other was topped with bulgogi, scallions, and provolone. Whereas, because the Trib’s Louisa Kung Liu Chu studies, the pizzas aren’t prone to return, they supply a window to what the rebranded restaurant may provide.

Earlier than Parachute opened there was stress for Kim and Clark. They wanted to not solely show that the restaurant may very well be a monetary success, however that it might maintain neighborhood and cultural worth, Kim stated. That state of affairs may not be that totally different from all first-time restaurant house owners, however placing Korean meals on a pedestal made what Kim and Clark confronted distinctive. Even with success, challenges stay, however Kim and Clark have gained the approval of their friends. A number of Korean and Korean American cooks spoke to Eater about Parachute’s significance. Bixi Beer’s Bo Fowler, who final yr closed Owen and Engine in Logan Sq., known as Kim courageous for being “unapologetically Korean and chef pushed, with no compromises made.”

“She wasn’t making an attempt to enchantment to everybody,” Fowler says of Kim. “Parachute was not solely scrumptious, however so inspiring.”

Adalina chef Soo Ahn, who seems on High Chef: Final Probability Kitchen, says he appreciated Clark and Kim’s distinctive spins on Korean delicacies: “Their bing bread was one thing I might dream about at night time.”

Parachute dropped the bing bread in 2022, calling it an financial resolution as they relaunched the restaurant with extra of conventional Korean lean. The information launch teases that the beloved merchandise, which was featured in a recipe zine written by former Tribune meals author and cookbook writer Kevin Pang, “will probably be again in restricted capability.” Meals will value much less in comparison with Parachute’s unique iteration, however Chu studies they haven’t found out how a lot they’ll cost for bing bread. Labor prices are one other issue weighing on restaurant house owners. At Parachute Hello-Fi, they’re “blurring the strains between chef, server, and bartender.” The bar service mannequin isn’t as expensive as a full-service restaurant to operators.

There’s nonetheless a want to discover a new area for the unique Parachute in a bigger location nearer to downtown. Working a boutique-sized neighborhood restaurant isn’t straightforward, Kim stated. Whereas there’s nothing new to share about what a brand new location, Kim feels assured that Parachute may fare higher in a state of affairs the place downtown vacationers wouldn’t must stray too removed from their resorts.

The couple additionally refreshed their different restaurant final yr, remodeling their every-day accessible connoisseur restaurant Wherewithall into Anelya, a restaurant that attracts from Clark’s Ukrainian roots. They hope to open the brand new Parachute Hello-Fi this summer time.

Parachute Hello-Fi, 3500 N. Elston Avenue, deliberate for a summer time opening.



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