Arts & Culture

After life on the streets, Mama Kim’s settles down

Contributing Writer
Monday, December 5, 2011

Mama Kim’s is expanding with a second truck and a sit-down location.

By the time students start trickling onto campus after winter break, Mama Kim’s — the Korean barbecue truck that usually sets up shop near Thayer Street and serves hearty, savory portions of beef bulgogi and homemade kimchi — will have expanded to a second truck and a sit-down restaurant.

One truck will park on campus and the other will visit other spots in Providence, according to owner Hyun Kim ’01.

The new truck will mostly cater to the Rhode Island School of Design and areas downtown, said Leah Chung, a sophomore at RISD who works at Mama Kim’s. By feeding rising demand for barbecued Korean food, the new truck will reduce the long lines at the on-campus truck, Kim said.

“With two trucks, the original truck will now be solely dedicated to serving the Brown community,” Kim said.

Along with the new truck to relieve on-campus lines, the business plans to increase late-night shifts in the spring to satisfy student demand and has looked into donating money to the University to create new scholarships.

Mama Kim’s has also been expanding outside of Providence. The business opened a sit-down location in Cranston yesterday in a new collaboration with 2012 Bar and Grill, a restaurant-bar in the center of the city. In the new location, Mama Kim’s serves food while the 2012 Bar and Grill provides the alcohol and beverages.

Kim added that the new sit-down operation allows the restaurant to serve dishes that the trucks are not able to provide, such as traditional Korean noodles. It also serves as a central hub for the food trucks to restock their supplies.

“Demand is rapidly rising,” Kim said. “Hospitals, law firms, businesses in the downtown are requesting large delivery orders or catering services. We couldn’t do that before — but with a much bigger kitchen and a much bigger staff, we can.”

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