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6 siblings who fell in love with Korean food end up in restaurant industry

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Front row, counterclockwise from left: Jinsol Gukbap Moon Kwon Ju, Brothers BBQ Bu Gweon Ju, eldest sister Keum Hwa Ju, second sister Keum Yeon Ju, Jinsol Gukbap Keum Suk Ju, and Sang Rok Soo Catering Keum Hee Ju. [Sangjin Kim, The Korea Daily]
All six of the Ju siblings are in the restaurant business.

Upon the opening of Borit Gogae, a local restaurant of Gangwon Province, in LA Koreatown, the restaurant began drawing significant attention.

Specializing in Gangwon Province-style rural meals, this venue is increasingly popular among food enthusiasts in search of healthful options.

Despite economic challenges, the lunch crowd remains extensive. Thanks to celebrity and influencer visits eager to sample its Korean-styled dishes, the restaurant has seen a growing visitors from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Launched in November 2022 by founders Bu Gweon Ju and Sung hee Jung, Borit Gogae followed other ventures like Brothers BBQ, Donghae Makguksu, and Chuncheon Dakgalbi. The restaurant’s signature barley rice set meal, focusing on minimal seasoning to bring out the natural ingredient flavors, went viral. This led to a sales surge of over 100 percent as they approach their one-year anniversary.

The inspiration behind Borit Gogae came from a storied restaurant in Wonju, Gangwon Province, that’s been in operation across three generations. This Wonju dish found its audience in LA as well.

The couple has six restaurants to their name, including Jung Sunghee’s Donghae Makguksu in South Korea. “Rather than seeking profit, my wife’s ethos revolves around providing delicious food at affordable prices,” explained Ju.

“All my siblings are in the restaurant industry,” Ju revealed. Inspired by his wife, Sung hee Jung, and as the third among two sons and four daughters, Bu Gweon Ju’s foray into the restaurant world led all his siblings to converge on their shared passion for food.

Bu Gweon Ju’s elder sister, Keum Hwa Ju, and second sister, Keum Yeon Ju, operate Korean restaurants in South Korea. His older brother, Moon Kwon Ju, an industry stalwart, has owned 23 establishments over 25 years.

His younger sister, Keum Suk Ju, after managing Fresh Meats for 17 years, is working with Moon Kwon Ju on Jinsol Gukbap. The youngest sibling, Keum Hee Ju, is running Sang Rok Soo Catering.

In 2015, Bu Gweon Ju launched Brothers BBQ, followed by Donghae Makguksu LA and Chuncheon Dakgalbi. Tragically, a fire devastated Donghae Makguksu last November, but reconstruction efforts are underway.

Even amid inflation, Brothers BBQ remains cost-effective, offering a breakfast menu at $12.99 and lunch at $14.99. Ju explained, “Brothers BBQ operates with a three-tier system: no manager, no cashier, and no closing staff. Mutual trust is our foundation, and most kitchen staff have been with us since our 2015 opening.”

Having benefited from a university scholarship, Ju aspires to ‘earn and give back.’ “I established the BuSung group, merging the couple’s names, and run a scholarship foundation,” he shared. “To date, our foundation has donated 4.5 billion won ($3.4 million) to my alma mater, Kangwon National University.”

BY EUNYOUNG LEE    [lee.eunyoung6@koreadaily.com]

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