Den Den Hospitality Group, the company that owns Den Den Café Asiana and Kung Fu Tea, will open a new restaurant, Korean Fried Chicken, on the corner of Angell and Thayer streets in late January 2017.
Korean Fried Chicken will be a full-service restaurant that sells primarily Korean street food. But in order to cater to the Brown community, the service will be kept simple so that students can come in and out for lunch.
“It’s a totally different menu and a totally different atmosphere from the current Den Den,” said Min Cheung, owner of Den Den Hospitality Group. The dinner menu will offer individual dishes while the lunch menu will include combinations that allow customers to mix and match various dishes.
The idea of selling Korean street food stemmed from a temporary menu that Den Den Café Asiana had last year. This separate menu focused on Korean fried chicken and sold out every night.
“Frying chicken takes a lot of time, so we stopped giving out the menu,” Cheung said. “Only people who knew about it could order it.”
“But I realized that someday this would work out. We had a great recipe, and I was just looking for the right opportunity.”
This opportunity arose earlier this year when Asian Café, an Asian fusion restaurant, went out of business. Den Den Hospitality Group acquired the space and started construction in late September. According to Cheung, about 80 percent of the construction has been completed, and the entire space has been renovated.
Those who cherish the current Den Den on Benefit Street need not fear. The restaurant will remain open and continue to serve its current menu, along with their most popular dish — the beloved bibimbap, which consists of rice, vegetables and a choice of meat, all served in a stone bowl to keep its contents warm.
“It’s very hearty and fulfilling, which I think represents the quality of our restaurant,” Cheung said. Though Korean Fried Chicken will hire new employees, he said, the restaurant’s philosophy will remain the same.
Den Den Café Asiana calls itself a fusion of Korean and Japanese, and its casual cafe-like atmosphere makes it a popular spot among Brown students, despite being halfway down College Hill.
Roughly 80 percent of Den Den customers are members of the Brown community, Cheung said.
“When we first opened this location, we didn’t think the Brown community would come this far down the hill just to eat dinner,” Cheung said. “But now, Brown does so much for us, and we cannot express how thankful we are.”