Take that, Austin. The Capital City may have an ever-evolving food scene, but Round Rock scored the first area location of word-famous Korean chain Bonchon.
Austinites shouldn’t despair too much, however. The new shop is just a short drive away at 2800 S. Interstate 35. A company rep confirms the location quietly welcomed their first guests September 26. For now, the restaurant is operating with limited hours as they work out all the kinks in preparation for the grand opening.
The franchise was founded in Busan, South Korea, before making a splash on the East Coast with several locations in the Washington, D.C. and New York City areas. Although the Round Rock store brings the brand to Central Texas, the chain has already made its mark on Texas with locations in Houston and Dallas.
The specialty of the house is Korean fried chicken (the other, and much better, KFC). The crispy treat comes in three flavors (spicy, soy garlic, and a half-and-half combo of both) and is available in several dishes including wraps, tacos, salads, sliders, fried rice, or just by itself.
In addition, Bonchon offers several other Korean faves like bimbimbap (a rice dish topped with proteins like ribeye bulgogi, seafood, or tofu); japchae (sweet and savory stir-fried glass noodles); and tteokbokki (spice stir-fried rice cakes).
A few Asian fusion dishes round off the menu, like pork and vegetable potstickers; shrimp shumai dumplings; takoyaki (ball-shaped octopus snacks drizzled with Japanese mayo); and salmon avocado balls with imitation crab, cucumber, and crunchy tempura bits. Sides run the gamut from fries and onion rings to pickled radish and kimchi.
The rep says that the restaurant is currently not offering wine or sake, but there is a wide-ranging beer list to make up for it. The list covers domestic favorites, a few American craft brews, and popular Asian brands like Asahi.
For now, Bonchon is only offering dine-in dinner service on Wednesday-Sunday. On most of those days, the hours are 5-9 pm. Fridays and Saturdays offer extended hours until 10.