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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Popular Lincoln Square Korean BBQ San Soo Gab San May Reopen This Weekend After Owners Fix Violations

The restaurant closed in September after city officials found ventilation problems and fire hazards. It could partially reopen this weekend.

San Soo Gab San, 5247 N. Western Ave., allows customers to use small charcoal-grills to cook food at their table.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — San Soo Gab San’s owners hope to reopen for limited service this weekend and relaunch their full Korean BBQ menu by November after being shut down by the city in September.

The tables at San Soo Gab San, 5247 N. Western Ave., have small charcoal-grills that allow customers to cook the meats they order.

City officials were notified of sparks coming out of a chimney at the restaurant, which led to inspectors closing the restaurant Sept. 20 for ventilation and fire hazard violations, Department of Buildings spokesman Michael Puccinelli.

The closure was first reported by Eater

“The City Of Chicago is forcing us to close until we build essentially a ‘proper chimney’ for our coal fire lighting room,” the owners said in a Facebook post. “They are making us go through the process of getting a building permit and all the other fun things needed through the City of Chicago. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

San Soo’s owners have hired an architect and a licensed contractor to correct the building violations, and received a building permit to complete the work, Puccinelli said.

The restaurant will reopen after inspectors return to verify the repairs were done correctly, Puccinelli said.

San Soo could reopen with a limited menu as soon as this weekend, said Christopher Kim, the owners’ son.

“We hopefully should be opening back up this weekend but won’t be doing table grilling options,” Kim said. “But we will be offering prepared dishes and grilled meats will be grilled inside the kitchen.”

The new systems should be installed by the first week of November, allowing the restaurant to resume normal operations, Kim said.

The popular restaurant has been around for more than 30 years and been featured in the 2019-2022 Michelin Bib Gourmand as well as named Chicago’s best Korean restaurant by Reader in 2017. 

“It was definitely an unseen obstacle that we came across. But hopefully this can all be finished soon and we can open back up to feed everyone’s Korean BBQ needs,” Kim said.

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