Billy and Andy Lim, of City Rock Korean Kitchen, are brothers who were born and raised in Chicago by immigrant Korean parents who were already very familiar with the temperature extremes in the Midwest. Their mother would cook Korean food at home for every meal almost every day of their childhood. Once in school, they were exposed to the “American” way of eating. Fast food, burgers, fries, buffets, steaks, fried chicken, barbecue, all of the tasty, savory treats they never had at home. Growing up in these two completely different worlds, like many first-generation American children of immigrants, resulted in the boys seeking a different culinary experience.
Through the years, the Lim brothers have worked in various kitchens throughout Chicago. Billy was a Sushi chef working with Dalbert Song of Ora Sushi, the Kamehachi Restaurant Group and various establishments around Chicago. Andy worked under one of Chicago’s highest celebrated chefs, Chris Pandel of the massively popular Boka restaurants Swift & Sons and Balena, for almost seven years. Through the brothers’ collective experiences and their love for everything food related, they have decided to venture out on their own and create a new experience. Through their cooking and their food, Billy and Andy Lim hope to share their humble upbringing and experiences with their home, their city, Chicago.
Korean Cuisine is an integral part of its culture. The food is derived directly from Korea’s diverse terroir; being a peninsula the country is mostly surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, packed with a plentiful supply of fish, seaweed, and other delectable sea creatures and plants. On land, the mountainous regions provide wild vegetation, an assortment of root vegetables and many different species of wild game, while flatter regions are used for farming. The long winters demanded the practice of preservation through various techniques, such as fermentation and dehydration. The varying environments and climates throughout this country has allowed Korean Cuisine to become one of the most nutritious, healthy, delicious, and sought after food experiences in the world.
City Rock wants to share their version of Korean-American cuisine beginning with a dish that many Americans are familiar with and is already a part of the American food culture. Considering how fast-paced modern society has become, the dish had to be easily constructed, customizable for every customer, and have a variety of delicious flavors and textures. City Rock intends on creating a simple and exciting culinary experience that can still be a healthy, filling, and nutritious meal while honoring the beauty and complexity of Korean cuisine.
City Rock wants to share their version of Korean-American cuisine with the city they grew up in, Chicago. Although the range of delicious foods in Korean cuisine could go on and on, for their first venture, City Rock wanted to focus on just one of these traditional Korean dishes, “be-bim-bop” or “Mixed Rice Bowl”, while offering familiar options using Korean products and ingredients.