The first Chicago location of Bonchon, the Korean fried chicken chain with the cult following, plans to soft open next week in Chinatown Square mall, said owner Kenny Chen. A grand opening will be held two weeks after, he added.
Plus four more Chicagoland Bonchon restaurants are already in the works, with a total of 20 area locations planned over the next few years, said Chen.
Chen said he’s signed leases in Wicker Park, “on Division, nearby Starbucks and all of the restaurants,” and Schaumburg, “across from Woodfield Mall." Both are scheduled to open by the end of this year or the beginning of 2018.
Meanwhile another franchisee plans to open Bonchon locations in Glenview and Niles, he added.
A cult following of the signature sticky, spicy and crunchy fried chicken has fueled worldwide expansion. Bonchon, based in South Korea, has U.S. headquarters in New York City. Founded in 2002, the chain currently has more than 200 locations, mostly in Asia, with more than 100 in the Philippines alone. The first in this country opened in 2006 in New Jersey.