Joseph Kim had no foodservice experience when he opened the first Dae Gee Korean BBQ more than 10 years ago. He had never worked in a restaurant. Never bussed tables. Never cooked in his life. Instead, he worked in the family dry cleaning business for much of his 20s until his mother-in-law approached him with the idea of opening a Korean barbeque restaurant.
Like Joseph, his mother-in law is Korean, but unlike her son-in-law, she’s a seasoned cook and even owned a Korean restaurant in Hawaii in the 1990s. So while Joseph tended to branding, business permits, payroll, and other operational details, she developed the menu. They opened the very first Dae Gee restaurant in the Denver suburb of Westminster in 2012 and have since been captivating a wide audience with Joseph’s own brand of youthful energy and his mother-in-law’s homemade recipes.
Today, Dae Gee has firmly anchored itself as a modern full-service Korean barbeque spot progressively blending Korean food tradition with American culture. In fact, culinary star and restaurateur Guy Fieri – who has previously featured Dae Gee on his reality television series, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” – has said of the franchise, “This isn’t just any Korean restaurant. This one’s off the hook!”
There are currently five Dae Gee restaurants open and operating across Colorado’s Front Range, with more than 20 others in various stages of development cross Indiana, South Dakota, Texas and Mexico.