By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A restaurant specializing in Korean street food is preparing to open its first brick-and-mortar location after the successful debut of its food truck earlier this year.
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Bop Bop debuted as a food truck in May and was a hit with customers at Rockford City Market, said Cathy McDermott, the market’s executive director. It was also at Food Truck Tuesdays near Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens and other special events around the area.
Pras said as the market and food truck season started to wind down, customers began asking about where they could get Bop Bop year-round.
“They’ve been asking since the end of summer: Where can we go to get your food? What are you going to do in the winter?” said Lenny Enggelina, Bop Bop’s manager.
Pras said the restaurant will offer simple, grab-and-go Korean street food that customers can pick up on a lunch break. You can also dine-in at the shared indoor seating.
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The new indoor space will carry popular staples from the food truck such as the bulgogi rice bowl, which has thinly sliced marinated beef served over noodles, rice and lettuce. The noodle is made from sweet-potato flour, rather than rice flour, giving it a lower glycemic index, said Karen Hobbs, the founder KH Food Safety Consulting and Services, which has Bop Bop as a client.
Other popular items are the Korean mozzarella corn dogs, which can be ordered with a hot Cheetos topping and sweet spicy gochujang sauce.
Pras and Enggelina wanted to open in the indoor market space in part because Rockford City Market helped make them a success, Hobbs said.
“People would line up out there and they would run out of food,” Hobbs said. “The people that waited and ran out of food, by the time they get the opportunity to get to the window they order everything and take it home.”
This is the second food truck run by Pras, who previously co-owned Gohan Hibachi food truck. He was also a chef at Shogun for about two decades.
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The Bop Bop food truck is eye-catching with its blend of red and orange colors and its anime-style cartoon character on the side.
“With the bright colors and the name and the food that’s just delicious … wherever they go they have followers,” Hobbs said.
Follow | Bop Bop
On Instagram: @bopbopfoodtruck
On Facebook: facebook.com/bopbopfoodtruck