Popular Korean barbeque restaurant opens 1st Bay Area location at South Bay mall

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Popular LA Korean BBQ restaurant opens 1st Bay Area location
The South Bay's Westfield Valley Fair Mall will now feature a highly anticipated Korean BBQ restaurant Baekjeong, a popular Los Angeles-based chain.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The South Bay's Westfield Valley Fair Mall will now feature a highly anticipated Korean BBQ restaurant Baekjeong, a popular LA-based chain.

On Wednesday, doors officially open to their first Northern California location at Westfield Valley Fair.

On Tuesday night, staff held a soft opening for friends and family.

Samuel Kim is the senior director of culinary operations for the Kijung Hospitality Group.

Kim says the environment is supposed to transport you to a vibrant and fun night market of Korean culture.

"Really, you just have to come with an open mind, don't be intimidated, if you've never had Korean BBQ before. We'll kind of guide you through the process of it and how to eat it. We'll cook from start to finish for you," Kim said.

This location was originally slated to open last year.

"We definitely went through challenges in building this restaurant but, we're really excited to be here, we really wanted to be in the Bay Area," Kim said.

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Westfield Valley Fair mall continues to draw restaurants that are considered cult favorites like Eataly, Ramen Nagi and Din Tai Fung.

It comes as experts say the traditional mall needs to be rethought.

In 2019, Valley Fair underwent a $1.1 renovation that included adding more space. An investment for shoppers and foodies.

"We just really felt that this mall, and we did the market research, we did the demographics research, and we really felt like the people that come to Valley Fair is the demographic of the people that come and eat at Baekjeong so we just thought it was a great match," Kim said.

Dalton Puckett works at Valley Fair.

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"I think just in general KBBQ is a huge part of our South Bay culture. So I think we're really excited to have a new Korean BBQ spot. Especially, like I work at the mall so I'm able to see you know all the new restaurants coming in and this is by far one of the top favorites already," Puckett said.

Melanie Yu and her friend Sherry Shi drove from San Francisco to get a taste during the soft opening.

"I think with the big splash that Eataly made when it first hit San Jose a lot of people from San Francisco and East Bay came down here so, oh yeah - with the addition of Baekjeong now like everyone is going to want to come to San Jose," Yu said.

The sprawling space is 9,000 square feet and can seat 250.

Reservations are now open.

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