Michael Ng’s ever-evolving restaurant row in Jackson Ward has two new arrivals.
Jkogi, a Korean takeout and delivery concept, will open Feb. 28 at 325 N. 2nd St. in the space previously occupied by the Andale taco shop.
And next door, barbecue restaurant The Cultured Swine will open in early March. The Cultured Swine space at 317 N. 2nd St. was once home to a commercial kitchen for burger concept Slideways Bistro.
Ng, who owns the building and most of that block of 2nd Street, closed Andale last week after less than a year in business.
Ng also owns Thai Corner on 2nd Street and a fleet of Thai Cabin food carts. He said he closed Andale because he had a lot on his plate already and wanted to give some newcomers an opportunity.
“It’s pretty much a new chapter that this building needs,” he said. “We’re both giving each other a trial run. We’ll see how it goes from here.”
At the helm of Jkogi are Sara Chang and Jay Ko. Their menu will include made-to-order bowls, rotating specials and a Korean dish similar to Japanese sushi rolls called gimbap.
Jkogi is a play on the Korean word “gogi,” which refers to barbecue meat, Chang said.
“We’re trying to keep it authentic – all Korean food, no fusion,” she said. “There’s an increased demand for Korean food around here.”
Chang would not say how much it will cost open Jkogi or how it’s being financed. The restaurant’s plans were first reported by Richmond Magazine.
Jkogi will compete with other local Korean restaurants such as Mama’s Kitchen near VCU and Zzaam Fresh Korean Grill, a concept launched last year by Sweet Frog founder Derek Cha.
Chang said the neighborhood’s growing number of restaurants will serve Jkogi well.
“I see Jackson Ward changing,” Chang said. “It seems like it’s going to be a completely different scene in the next couple months.”
The Cultured Swine sells barbecue, tamales, tacos and other dishes inspired by international cuisine – including Korean. Owners Corey Johnson and Eric Freund launched the brand in late 2014 with catering and a food cart they set up near Brown’s Island.
They took over their new space in January and plan to apply for an ABC license.
“I can run the cart out of my store and cut down on overhead,” Johnson said. “This is a really good time for the neighborhood. This is a good time to get my spot.”
The Cultured Swine will be open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. The 750-square-foot space will be able to seat about 18 people.
The other restaurants along the block include Big Herm’s Kitchen and Bodillaz.