Korean foods truck Anju to open St. Petersburg restaurant

Stacey C. Slagle

ST. PETERSBURG — By now, a lot of Tampa Bay diners are acquainted with their crispy, crunchy Korean-fried rooster wings. Their bulgogi and queso-topped tater tots have amassed a little something akin to a cult pursuing. And for the past couple several years, Anju Korean Gastrotruck has been a typical appearance at food items festivals, weddings, business office parties and neighborhood breweries.

Commencing following week, the pair guiding the well-liked foods truck will open their first standalone cafe, Anju, in St. Petersburg.

Husband-and-spouse duo Mee Ae and Dan Wolney started out their business enterprise out of a stationary trailer in 2014 soon after moving from their property in Colorado to the Tampa Bay spot. Mee Ae Wolney, who is initially from South Korea, attended culinary college in Boulder and worked at eating places in Colorado in advance of the pair made a decision to open up up a business of their personal. Their stationary store promptly morphed into a cell gig, and the meals truck has garnered a huge regional next.

The time period Anju refers to ingesting snacks — salty, spicy and crunchy dishes usually eaten collectively with alcoholic beverages — and can vary from savory, fried treats to spicy stews and finger meals. The strategy proved a popular in shape with Florida’s booming brewery scene and the truck turned a normal on the local competition scene.

But, just like the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the cafe business, it’s thrown a wrench into the regional food truck business enterprise, with a lot of operators getting that their wedding, competition and occasion business enterprise disappeared right away.

“It’s been a wrestle,” Mee Ae Wolney said. “Basically, they canceled all the things. I had to rapidly consider on my toes and determine this out: Do I devote a lot more revenue to open up a storefront, or do I just take two techniques back again and shut down?”

The pair had often talked about opening their personal restaurant, so when a place on 16th Road N and 30th Avenue opened up, they determined to just take the plunge. Opening a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic nonetheless feels like a little bit of a gamble, Wolney admits. But functioning a brick-and-mortar looks like a safer guess than relying on the strike-or-miss out on food items truck scheduling right now.

“We’re naturally likely to really feel the results of this for some time,” she explained. “And I come to feel like the only way to go is to move forward.”

To start off, Wolney states they will do takeout only, commencing on Oct. 14. Inevitably, within just the next month, she hopes to open up with limited capacity dine-in support. The developing at 2827 16th St. N was previously house to M-N-M BBQ and will feature a eating region inside with seating for roughly 48 persons at tables and an added 18 seats about the bar.

The menu will be a familiar sight for a lot of of the truck’s loyal fans: crunchy Korean-fried rooster wings and boneless “K-pops,” served in possibly a garlicky soy sauce or the spicy St. Pete Warmth elixir bibimbap BOP bowls, topped with grilled and marinated rib-eye steak, greens, spicy kimchi and an around-effortless egg served on sticky rice tater tots topped with Korean beef bulgogi, white cheddar queso, grilled kimchi and crushed peanuts and the Osaka tots, seasoned with Japanese mayonnaise, sweet barbecue sauce, aonori (dried seaweed), bonito (dried, fermented tuna flakes), bacon, scallions and pickled purple ginger.

Wolney mentioned they will possible start out introducing additional menu products after the opening, like steamed buns, dumplings and Korean corn puppies. Once the restaurant opens for dine-in support, there will also be a rotating record of beer, wine and inevitably sake and soju cocktails.

To begin, Anju will be open up for lunch and meal, Wednesdays via Saturdays and will at some point extend to consist of Sunday brunch.


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