Even on a chilly Monday evening, the wait at Cho Dang Gol was more than an hour.
Crowds of 20-somethings spilled out of the homey restaurant in Manhattan’s Koreatown, where steam billowed from stone bowls of soondubu jigae in a dining room ornamented with paper lanterns and musical instruments. Some hopeful customers peeked inside, anxious to see if a table had opened up.
A few blocks away, diners at Hojokban — a sleeker, more modern restaurant that opened last fall — eagerly snapped photographs of a plate of fried-rice wearing an empty Shin Ramyun noodle cup like a hat. The dish had already gone viral on TikTok.
A little to the south, Atomix, a Korean fine-dining restaurant with two Michelin stars, was booked solid through the next month. And the sought-after corn cake at nearby Lysée, a Korean-French pastry shop? It had been sold out since lunchtime.
Korean dining in New York has never been more interesting, dynamic or diverse. And a single company, which owns or co-owns all four of these restaurants and 17 more, is generating much of that innovation: Hand Hospitality.