Korean fusion on Franklin Street

Jan. 29, 2013 @ 10:17 AM

Korchipi coming to Franklin: The Korean fusion chicken and pizza restaurant Korchipi is targeted to open in early February in a space at 163 E. Franklin St. that previously housed Tomato Jake’s Pizzeria.
Korchipi owner Ray Lee said the restaurant will be serving salads, pizza, Gangnam-style chicken served either fried, sweet and mild, or hot and spicy with shredded cabbage and diced radish, as well as Gangnam-style chicken wings and So-Ga wings that he said are made with a soy and garlic sauce.
The menu also includes Korchipi Korean Boxes that can come with either thinly sliced grilled beef, chicken, or chicken teriyaki, as well as a salad, dumplings, vegetables, and rice rolls, as well as Korchipi hot bowls served with chicken, shrimp or beef.
Lee, whose daughter is a University of North Carolina alumna, said in an email that his goal is to introduce Korean food and culture to UNC-Chapel Hill students and Chapel Hill residents.
“Nowadays, young people, they want to get out of their box, and try something different, they want to discover other national food,” he said.

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3Cups to close: The Chapel Hill shop 3Cups, which sold wine, coffee and tea and beer from a spot on Elliott Road, is slated to close Feb. 2.
The business was another food venture of Lex Alexander, the co-founder of the Wellspring grocery stores in Durham and Chapel Hill. He launched the stores in 1981 with his wife, Ann Alexander. Whole Foods bought the stores in 1991.
“There were very few food stores that had artisan, good, high quality food, kind of a European approach to food, fresh food,” Ann Alexander said of the launch of Wellspring.
Lex Alexander worked at Whole Foods for 10 years, Ann said. He was vice president for product development, and worked to develop the store’s private food label. He retired, and started 3 Cups when he didn’t want to be retired anymore, Ann Alexander said.
“He wanted to start 3 Cups, a small shop that would carry the artisan products that he was passionate about,” she said.
The first 3 Cups location was on West Franklin Street in The Courtyard development. It moved to the existing location on Elliott Road after a series of disputes with the property’s former owner. The Courtyard is now under new ownership, and is undergoing a redevelopment.
Ann Alexander said the store started at the location “at the worst possible time” about eight years ago. She said that while the shop had a supportive, passionate customer base, but there weren’t enough of those customers.
“From 1981, the whole thing was to find the highest quality food and to support the food artisans in the country, and the world, that are putting out the best, highest quality food, at a decent value,” she said. “He’s been doing that since 1981, that’s what we did at Wellspring, that’s what he did at Whole Foods, and that’s what he did at 3Cups.”
Lex Alexander said the closing is bittersweet.
“I’m so proud of 3Cups, and the one thing I’m so sad about, other than not being able to get a lot of these products myself, and being able to tell the story of these extraordinary farmers, from … locations around the world,” he said.

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Mellow Mushroom job fair: There will be a job fair from 2 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday at The Franklin Hotel to hire for the new Mellow Mushroom restaurant in Chapel Hill.
The restaurant is slated to open March 4 at 310 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill, said co-owner Casey Fox. The space previously housed Ham’s Restaurant.
Fox said the owners are looking to hire about 80 people for the front and back of the restaurant. There will be a second job fair from 2 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the same location.

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