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Husband-and-Wife Team Bring Bibimbap to Damen Avenue

By Alisa Hauser | January 8, 2013 11:39am

BUCKTOWN—A new Korean restaurant in Bucktown is named for a biblical spring that revived an Israelite judge during a fatiguing journey — and the owners want their cuisine to have a similar effect on customers.

"When Samson was tired, he asked God for help. He regained his strength at En Hakkore. We are hoping people will check it out and get help, strength, joy, whatever the good things are," said Peter Park, who co-owns En Hakkore at 1840 N. Damen Ave with his wife, Faith.

The cozy 1,450 square-feet storefront, most recently home to Melt Sandwich Shoppe, can accommodate 30 diners, including a community table with 12 seats.

Painted gold and purple, the space features exposed brick and a wooden counter designed by a family member. Colorful porcelain plates and cups from Faith Park's personal collection adorn the walls.

Peter Park, 36, who will run the restaurant with his wife, Faith, also 36, said they are not sure exactly which day they will open this week.

In addition to reminding her of a favorite biblical passage, Faith Park said she likes the last four letters of En Hakkore, because "kore" reminds her of Korea, where the couple is originally from.

The Parks, married for seven years, decided it was time to pool their talents.

Most recently, Peter Park has been a chef at a suburban restaurant for the past three years. Faith Park, having managed a restaurant in Korea, recently took culinary classes at Kendall College.

After looking at open spaces in various neighborhoods, the Christian couple chose Bucktown because, "it's one of the most popular places — it's the perfect spot for our menu," Peter Park said.

"If you try it in [the] suburbs it would not work," he added.

Though the menu has not been released yet, a sign on the window describes En Hakkore as offering " a smooth blending of Korean cuisine with bibimbap, sushirolls, sandwich and the like."

Korean staple bibimbap is comprised of fresh vegetables, salad, rice, sliced beef, and an egg sunny side up.

Faith Park said that a Korean-style panini will contain spicy bean paste, spicy pork, kimchi, onions and mushrooms. The panini will cost $7.50.

"We want prices to be appealing," Faith Park said. 

There will be no alcohol at En Hakkore and BYOB is not permitted.

En Hakkore's hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday. En Hakkore will be closed Sundays.