Kong Tofu & BBQ is a cozy Korean restaurant that has risen to the challenge

Maida Suta

The exterior of Kong Tofu & BBQ at 19626 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino, a local Korean restaurant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to reconsider their approach as the world is locked down to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Kong Tofu Korean Restaurant and Korean BBQ on Stevens Creek Blvd. rose to the challenge and persevered, growing their business even further despite the obstacles that stood in their way.

Before the pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, the Korean restaurant had always had a steady flow of customers due to its adherence to the principles of health and deliciousness. Enjoying a prime location close to many other shops, the restaurant attracted hundreds of people daily.

JD Kim, 72, owner of Kong Tofu & Korean BBQ, came to the United States from South Korea at the age of 50 and brought the delicacies and delicacies of his hometown to California.

The pandemic has hit him and his restaurant hard.

“During the pandemic, our business dropped by around 50%. Last year was a very difficult year for me,” Kim said. “Not only my restaurant, but also the businesses next to us have been affected by COVID-19. ”

However, as some businesses ended up shutting down during the pandemic, Kong Tofu & Korean BBQ chose to think carefully about how to maintain and grow its business with its customers in mind. Kim said they were attracting customers by focusing on better images for the menu while introducing more take-out options.

Belen Campos is a waitress at Kong Tofu & Korean BBQ and also takes care of her two young children. She always aims to provide an enjoyable experience for all customers and to perform her duties in the restaurant to the best of her abilities.

“My daily job is to bring the meals from the kitchen to the guests,” Campos said. “I’m happy to see that people are enjoying their meals.”

Campos said she is happy with her job here and has a flexible schedule depending on her needs. She can choose to work day or night, which gives her enough energy to take care of her children.

“When I work here, although sometimes I am very tired, most of the time my boss will be considerate of me and give me enough time to rest,” Campos said. “Working here makes me feel like home.”

Zuxiong Tan is a customer who came to Kong Tofu & Korean BBQ for the first time after a friend recommended him to go to the restaurant and try their food.

“I love Asian food, especially Korean food,” Tan said. “There are many good Korean restaurants in the Bay Area, so I regularly try different Korean restaurants.”

Tan ordered the seafood ramen and said he was very pleased with the flavor of this dish. He felt that the taste of this ramen is distinctly Korean, which reminded him that he had eaten the same dish in Seoul in 2019. Tan hopes to return to the restaurant in the future – the location is convenient and there are lots of shops to explore nearby.

“My friend is a big Korean lover, so she brought me here this time,” Zuxiong said. “She said it was one of her favorite restaurants.”

Undeniably, restaurants and local businesses have fallen on hard times over the past two years while trying to maintain operations under extremely unusual and stressful conditions. Kim said that over time, businesses will recover and see even more growth — and he’s already seeing some of that growth this year.

“This year, the epidemic is gradually under control, and I believe business will get better and better. I will stick to healthy eating in the future,” Kim said. “We had the toughest times. and I’m sure our restaurant will get better and better.I like Korean food very much and hope to introduce the most delicious Korean food to everyone.

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