Good news, Allston rats: Kimchipapi Kitchen (81 Harvard Ave., Allston) opens tonight. Business owner and head chef Joon Son — a.k.a. Kimchipapi — recently told Eater he’d be open by the end of May, and lo and behold he’s stuck to the plan. (Restaurants almost never open when they say they’re going to open, so kudos to the Kimchipapi.)
Kimchipapi Kitchen is going to serve a limited menu to start, open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for now. Son said that he eventually intends to open for lunch and also to stay open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; stay tuned for the expanded hours and menu.
For now, eaters will be able to enjoy “glory bowls” — protein, sauce, banchan, and various toppings — and some of Kimchipapi’s “kravings,” which is just a clever name for appetizers.
Son, who is very familiar with 81 Harvard Ave. — he once owned a sneaker shop called At the Buzzer in the space — is excited to bring his food to the neighborhood he loves.
“I’m just an Allston rat trying to get my cheese,” he told Eater. “I love Allston and there’s no place I’d rather open Kimchipapi Kitchen.”
Kimchipapi doesn’t have a liquor license, so Son advised eaters to “get faded, baked, and/or cross faded before you come in.”
Son told Eater that his “passion for food was growing . . . 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.”
And how did he get the nickname Kimchipapi?
“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,” he told Eater.
If you’ve checked out Kimchipapi’s Instagram account, you may have then found yourself clicking through to his alter ego Kimchipapi Kreep’s account. The inspiration for Kimchipapi Kreep came from a candid photo taken of Son while at a club several years ago.
“My friends were clicking through the party photos online and they found it,” said Son. “I didn’t even know it was taken. I didn’t like the photo at first, but then I just embraced it and started having fun with it.”
Now that photo has been immortalized in acrylic paint — along with a second referencing to send “noodz” — on Kimchipapi’s bathroom wall.
Head to Allston tonight and let the Kimchipapi serve you a glory bowl and some “kravings.”