Eddie Song is a long-time LiNK supporter and the owner of Korilla BBQ in New York City. Eddie thought up the idea for the Korilla BBQ food truck during his time as a student at Columbia University. The first truck was so successful that it spawned a fleet, growing year after year with expanding menus and a stationary restaurant in East Village. Eddie and Korilla have been featured on Sesame Street and season two of The Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race.” Now, he has released Korilla Kafe, a cold-brew misugaru coffee with 10% of the proceeds going to LiNK. Read our interview with him below:
Q: How did you first hear about LiNK?
I first heard about LiNK in high school while being a part of the Korean Club at Stuyvesant High School.
Q: When did you first hear about the situation in North Korea?
The first memory I have of the situation in North Korea was during the famine in the 90s. I remember seeing images of emaciated babies at Korean supermarkets.
Q: What inspired you to get involved?
I’m not sure at what point exactly I woke up from being so absorbed with my shortfallings and instead, gave all that I could, however small. It must’ve been when I turned thirty.
Q: Did you always have a desire to start your own restaurant?
Growing up in a busy immigrant family with two working parents, the only quality family time was while we ate out at a restaurant. Nostalgia definitely colored my affectations, but there’s something magical about food!
Q: What inspired you to do Korean-Mexican fusion food?
It was more coincidental than anything. I was thinking about doing a kimbap concept using seaweed as the vehicle but after a couple of tastings I decided to go with a flour wrap. It just so happened Korean-Mexican fusion became huge and the wrap became a tortilla.
Q: What was it like starting a food truck business?
Just like being a young first time dad, creating it was fun but raising the bar on Korean food in a truck is a lot more work than anything I could’ve prepared for. Sleepless nights from long days and shorter nights and worrying whether today someone would crash my baby was a daily ritual. Eventually, you get over it and let it ride.
Q: You have a stationary location now right? How has that been different from the food truck?
I opened our brick and mortar location in the East Village in October of 2014. Aside from the high NYC rents, having a stationary location is much more advantageous to your sanity as it gives you the stability to grow your business.
Q: Do you have any plans to expand?
Yes! We hope to open one in Midtown and Downtown Brooklyn in 2016.
Q: What is Korilla Kafe?
Korilla Kafe is a misugaru beverage with cold brew coffee. It’s a breakfast in a bottle and something I felt the world should try and, in so doing, help out others who are in need.
Q: What is your favorite thing on your menu?
Tiger Balls! (Bacon kimchi fried rice, monterey jack cheese, and panko)
Next time you’re in NYC make sure to check out Korilla BBQ and support LiNK by picking up a bottle of Korilla Kafe!