Say goodbye to Hello Chicken, the popular Buford Highway “Seoul food” restaurant, and hello to Gop Chang on Fire, a quite different concept in Korean cuisine. This will be the third location, and first franchise, for the chain.
The two original Gop Chang on Fire restaurants, in Suwanee and Duluth, are small, elegant eateries that are open late—from 4pm until at least midnight—and serve wine and beer. They often have lines out the door.
The new Buford Highway location may open earlier to serve the lunch crowd. Franchisee David Moon Marenda did not respond to a request for comment.
It will join Mozart Bakery and Sinaloense Pollo Asados in a small Buford Highway strip mall across from popular Pinetree West Shopping Center. It’s “in the center of all the action” according to Steve Josovitz of the Shumacher Group, who represented the seller in the transaction.
The 6,100-square-foot space, with seating for 100 guests, is considerably larger than either of the original restaurants. Hello Chicken, the previously occupant, struggled to fill them, saying on their Facebook page that, “the competition of fried chicken and rising costs are hard, so I have to shut down.”
Gop Chang on Fire may not have that problem. Gopchang restaurants specialize in offal or tripe, which is cooked into a variety of dishes, such as gopchang-gui, a type of marinated, grilled intestines.
Tripe dishes “have always been popular in Asia, and has seen a recent revival among younger people thanks to food blogs and television programs,” writes Explore Gwinnett in their review of the restaurants, which it calls “an advanced Korean eatery” for “adventurous eaters.”
The beef ribs and kimchee fried rice also earn accolades, if you can’t quite stomach the signature dishes that your dining partner came for.