Burger Seoul moves closer to opening new location

Owner said he plans to expand menu at Division Avenue spot.

Popular Korean-inspired hamburger joint Burger Seoul is set to return to Tacoma with a new brick-and-mortar restaurant in June, according to owner Young La.

The food truck, formerly located at the corner of S. 19th Street and Prospect Street for the last eight years, will be setting up a more permanent location on Division Avenue in “a month to a month and a half,” according to La.

“85 percent. That’s what has been done. We have about 25 percent to go,” La said.

La said the City of Tacoma shut them down in November because the grease trap on location at 19th Street Grocery did not meet the health department’s code for a commissary kitchen.

“They said we were not doing anything wrong, it’s just a technical problem that 19 Grocery had,” La said. “We had to find a commercial commissary kitchen at that point.”

The original plan, according to La, was to keep the trailer operating while they transition to the new brick-and-mortar location. But because the food cart was shut down, the revenue stopped. With the loss of income and unexpected costs of opening the new location, La found himself needing financial support to bring Burger Seoul back, so he turned to the community for help by creating a fundraiser campaign on GoFundMe.

As of May 16, the campaign titled “Save Burger Seoul” has raised $36,227 with a total goal of $50,000. The campaign has a total of 717 donations from individuals and businesses including a $1,000 donation from fellow local restaurant Infinite Soups.

“People support so much,” La said. “You really can’t take it for granted. Every single person and every single shopkeeper that donated to Burger Seoul makes it possible to find a way to do this journey, which is incredible and very much appreciated. It just humbled me in many different ways.”

The new home for Burger Seoul is located 1701 Division Ave. near the intersection of Sprague Ave. and 6th Ave., which La called Tacoma’s most famous street.

“It’s going to be great because it’s right in the hub,” La said. “We are in a central area which has a lot of traffic, neighborhoods and a lot of workers nearby.”

The locale won’t be the only change for the Burger Seoul. La said he plans to add new items to the menu and to serve breakfast options as well.

“We’re going to have our OG menu still, but on top of that we’re trying to do something with a more expanded menu,” La said.

The bulgogi topped burgers and spicy pork belly sandwiches people have come to expect will be joined by new items such as smash burgers, breakfast sliders, egg burgers and more fry options, according to La.

“It’s going to be upgraded everything,” La said.

La said they are also planning to implement a website or app so people can order ahead of time and “grab-and-go” food to take advantage of the accessibility of the new location.

“I’m stoked and I’m getting a lot of support,” La said. “Hopefully we can execute it to a certain level.”