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The old gas station on the corner of Alhambra Boulevard and T Street is scheduled to open next week as Tako Korean BBQ, selling tacos and burritos with a Korean flair.
“It’s really big in L.A., and we wanted to bring the concept up here,” co-owner Alex Won said Monday. “We’ll have beef, pork and chicken with a Korean sauce and slaw on tortillas.”
The concept is similar to GoGi’s Korean Barbecue, which opened inside Cafeteria 15L last year.
Details are still being finalized, but the tacos and burritos will likely be sold in combo plates with rice, and salads will be available. Won said diners should expect to pay between $6 and $8 for lunch.
Also planned for the space is a selection of Korean beers and soju, a Korean liquor that tastes similar to vodka but is about 20 percent alcohol, Won said.
He said the business will pay homage to the building’s historical use as a gas station, retaining the same look from the outside, albeit with patio tables and umbrellas, and using a retro-themed logo meant to recall the gas station signs from half a century ago.
Co-owner Yoon Cho said the name Tako is a play on the words taco and Korean. She formerly owned Yunece 61, a Memphis-style barbecue restaurant.
“There, the location was not as good,” she said. “Everybody said they liked the food, but here we have a much better location.”
Currently Sacramentans, the owners moved to the area from Seoul, South Korea, in 1986.
She said the changes in restaurants farther up on Alhambra Boulevard, with both Lyons and Eppie’s being replaced in the past month, will likely equate to increased traffic at night, and she hopes to benefit.
“To start with, we will probably be open from 10:30 (a.m.) to 10 (p.m.), but if people want to come in later, we will stay open late – maybe 3 in the morning,” she said.
The restaurant is contained in the building at the former gas station, and indoor seating is limited to a few tables, but patio seating, takeout and catering options are planned to make up for the smaller interior space.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Bay Miry of D&S Developments, which has owned the property for eight or nine years. “I have a really good feeling about them. I know their food is good, and if they execute it well, they will be very successful.”
Miry said his firm initially wanted to put in another gas station, but neighbors opposed the idea, and a four-story residential building was then planned. When the economy went downhill and getting funds became difficult, the project was scrapped.
“We thought, why don’t we try to find a good operator to open a unique and exciting concept?” he said. “We went to their house, and they gave us all kinds of different things they want to potentially offer there. Their food is unbelievable. I think it’s going to be a hit.”