Allstonians, brace yourselves for Kimchipapi Kitchen (81 Harvard Ave., Allston), a Korean-Japanese restaurant that is set to open sometime in May. The restaurant, which shares owner Joon Son’s nickname, will occupy the space left vacant by the Chicken & Rice Guys in late 2017.
More about that name: “My government name is Joon Son,” Son told Eater via email. “The name Kimchipapi was given to me by my good friend Lily a couple of years ago because I was always cooking with kimchi and I was typically the only Korean during gatherings and parties.“
Eater asked Son to share some details about the cuisine, but he said, “I can only give you keywords. Sorry, I’m trying to keep things G-14 classified for a little while.” Included in his list of keywords were “Korean,” “Japanese,” “Glory Bowl,” “Send Noodz,” and “Tossed Salad” — and those were the tamest of the bunch. (The absurd keywords are very much in line with Kimchipapi’s brand. See: His Instagram account.)
Son, a.k.a. Kimchipapi, is very familiar with 81 Harvard Ave.: He once ran a sneaker business called At the Buzzer out of the space.
“In 2015, I decided to close my first business after seven years,” explained Son. “My passion for food was growing at the time, and the state of the sneaker business was a bit dismal, so I decided to follow in the footsteps of my mother, who’s the former owner of Wu Chon House in Somerville, and open a restaurant.” (Wu Chon House closed in Union Square in 2010; Ebi Sushi is now located in the Somerville Avenue space.)
Kimchipapi is an Allston rat himself, so he’s excited to open in the neighborhood he loves.
“I’ve been crawling round these parts since the late 1990s,” he said. “I used to frequent Le’s, which was Pho Pasteur at the time, religiously. I’ve been around the Allston area for almost two decades. I ate here. I drank here. I lost my virginity here. I opened up my first business here. Allston is home. I’m an Allston rat and fucking proud of it.”
Kimchipapi hopes the people of Allston enjoy his food, but he also hopes they’re entertained.
“I love entertaining, whether it’s through comedy, food, music, karaoke, dancing, stripping,” said Son. “Whatever it takes to make sure people are enjoying themselves.”
Keep an eye out for Kimchipapi Kitchen, and be sure to follow Kimchipapi on Instagram for updates (and because he’s hilarious).