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Mama Kim’s sold to business employee

Previous owner, Hyun Kim ’01, to advise on service development, menu expansion

Students can look forward to late-night hours and a “secret menu” under Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ’s new leadership. Originally run and owned by Sook Kim P’01 and Hyun Kim ’01, the popular Thayer Street food truck was recently sold to the business’ sous chef, Don Fecher.

The eatery caters events on and off College Hill and has served members of the Brown community since 2011.

Hyun Kim, who is currently working for the United Nations in Africa, decided to sell the business as he no longer has time to run it, he wrote in an email to The Herald. Kim graduated from Brown with a degree in international relations and economics. Following graduation, Kim worked for senior government officials and served in the military.

Fecher has been in charge of “day-to-day operations” for the Mama Kim’s business for two years, Kim wrote. Under Fecher’s leadership but with Hyun Kim’s “close advisement,” Mama Kim’s will grow its services and menu, Kim wrote.

“For the company to expand on its vision further, we thought someone who is passionate about it and knows the business and the customers well should be leading it,” Kim wrote. “As I have not been able to give the business the attention it deserves, I thought it would be best for a loyal and committed employee to take charge.”

Kim added that he thinks Mama Kim’s has the “potential to be a commercial success beyond Providence.”

Fecher said expanding the catering and mobile aspect of the business are his two major priorities at this time. Rhode Island School of Design students are currently working to design a new, more functional menu, he said. Mama Kim’s will also be extending its “late-night” hours, which will run Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Sook Kim’s recipes will remain unchanged under the new leadership, Fecher said. “There’s a way she taught me to do it, and I’m going to adhere to that as I follow in succession,” he said.

Long-term goals for the business include getting Mama Kim’s sauces and marinades into a retail setting, Fecher said. He also plans to someday provide a “secret” menu.

“A few of our customers know a few of the options that we offer off the menu,” Fecher said. “We will be offering more specialty items, and code words will be introduced, like ‘word of the week’ on Sundays, where we’ll give you a half-price rice set.”

Having been part of Mama Kim’s for three years, Fecher said the change in position will not dramatically alter his relationship with the business.

“I don’t want to think much has changed,” Fecher said. “As far as owning it goes, I tend to not think that I own it. It’s the inverse, really. The business owns me and I’m okay with that. I let it take me in many directions and I enjoy it.”


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