A trio of hospitality heavyweights are firing up a new Korean barbecue spot in South Austin. Jjim Korean Braised BBQ is heading to Lamar Union, the South Lamar development anchored by Alamo Drafthouse, sometime this fall.
Pronounced "jeem," Jjim is a method of slow cooking meats until tender, a departure from the traditional grilling methods found in Korean barbecue. Jjim Korean Braised BBQ employs the method on dishes featuring beef, pork, and oxtail.
The star of the menu is Galbi Jjim, which is braised beef short ribs served with carrots, shishito peppers, potatoes, king oyster mushrooms, and scallions. According to a release, diners can "take the experience to the next level" by topping it with mozzarella cheese, and adding rice, glass noodles, or different banchan side dishes to their order.
“We are very excited to introduce Jjim to Austin,” said co-founder, Min Choe, who also owns Austin favorite Tso Chinese Delivery. “Growing up, galbi jjim was by far my most favorite food. I can’t wait for the Austin community to experience the same joy I have had with this delightful meal.”
This is the third project for CKN Hospitality, a powerhouse team that includes Choe, Brian Kim, and Youngmin Noh. In addition to Jjim BBQ, CKN also owns Donkey Mo’s Korean Fried Chicken and Roba Katsu.
Construction on the new restaurant is currently underway, with designer/architect Kevin Stewart of Design Hound leading the project. Stewart, whose portfolio includes Dai Due, The Grove, and Peached Tortilla, is tasked with turning the former The Connection Pizza + Bar into "a fun and elevated casual" Korean barbecue spot that includes grab-and-go and carryout options in response to the pandemic.
And, like with Tso Chinese Delivery, Choe says he is implementing a no-tipping policy at Jjim BBQ.
“We want the experience to be enjoyable and simple, without the obligatory need of tipping,” Choe said in a release. “We are committed to paying our staff very competitively, so there won’t be a need to be incentivized by tips.”
Lamar Union has seen a number of high-profile concepts — including Arista Rosso, Cantine, Juice Society, and El Burro— depart since the development first opened in 2014, prompting jokes of a "curse." Jjim BBQ's new space at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. #2140 has been home to both Vox Table, which closed in February 2018, and The Connection, which shuttered last fall.
Over the past few years, however, many of the development's eateries seem to have found a steady fanbase, and the development is now home to TLC, Mandala Market, Lick Honest Ice Creams, and Soto.