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Korean Fried Chicken Favorite BonChon Opens in Turtle Bay

By Mary Johnson | August 16, 2011 2:18pm
BonChon is known for its Korean fried chicken.
BonChon is known for its Korean fried chicken.
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TURTLE BAY — BonChon, the Korean restaurant known for its addictive fried chicken, opened a new location in Turtle Bay on Saturday, Grub Street reported.

BonChon Midtown, located on Second Avenue and East 51st Street, is starting with an initial menu that includes its signature fried wings, drumsticks and boneless breasts, as well as potstickers and traditional Korean dishes like bulgogi.

The restaurant will be open until 1 a.m. daily and has a full bar. Drinks on their cocktail menu include the Whiskey Ginger Smash, “a unique take on the classic jack and ginger,” the menu says, and the Dragon’s Breath, “a fiery tropical concoction of rum and tequila.”

The international chicken chain was founded in Pusan, South Korea, in 2002. It launched its first U.S. restaurant in Leonia, N.J., in 2006. One of the co-owners of the new Second Avenue location is Danny Louie, who used to manage the BonChon on John Street downtown.

The battle over which Korean fried chicken joint reigns supreme in the city is a fierce one. Online reviews claim various favorites, but a reader poll on the Midtown Lunch blog last year hailed BonChon as the hands-down winner, beating out competitors Bann New York on West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues and KyoChon on Fifth Avenue and 32nd Street.

The new BonChon location has been in the works since last December, when the owners announced their plans to renovate the space on their blog.

“Yes, it’s a mess, but the place has good bones as it were, and we are lucky enough to have it,” the blog’s first post read. “In a few months, this place should be a gleaming temple to the chicken which is BonChon.”

Nine months later, the restaurant officially opened its doors at 7 p.m. Louie told Grub Street the tables were packed within 30 minutes. And so far, the location’s sole review on Yelp is a positive one.

“Here for the soft opening tonight,” Amanda W. wrote in a Yelp review on Aug. 13. “Staff is super friendly. Decor is cozy and inviting. Drinks are delish.”

BonChon Midtown is located at 957 Second Ave. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.