North Texas Daily

Family-owned restaurant brings culture through food

Family-owned restaurant brings culture through food

Their most popular dish, The Eagle Spicy Beef, taken Sept. 10, 2015. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Family-owned restaurant brings culture through food
September 21
23:55 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer


One family-owned restaurant is doing its best to stay calm during the hustle and bustle of everyday Denton life.

The Taste Korean restaurant on North Texas Boulevard has white walls and modest features. Miscellaneous Korean-themed trinkets fill the cozy space. The restaurant smells of home-cooked food and the staff behind the counter welcome each new customer with a smile.

Even though the restaurant is small and simple, this intimate, hole-in-the-wall establishment has a much bigger plan in mind than delivering “typical” Korean food. Owner Sunny Choi and her family are making an effort to bring a whole new culture and style of food to the Denton community.

Choi moved to the United States with her husband Jin Kim 20 years ago in order to start a new life in America.

The Taste restaurant, taken Sept. 10, 2015. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

The Taste restaurant is located in the small strip of businesses in between Traditions Hall and West Hall on North Texas Blvd. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

“We came to America in order to make money and have our American dream come true,” Choi said. “This restaurant is completely different than what I thought we would pursue.”

Choi and her husband purchased the restaurant two years ago when the restaurant was named C ZEN. They changed the name, signifying the start of a new adventure. Choi said she was excited, but nervous, to embark on the journey with her family.

“English is my second language, so my daughters are huge helpers when it comes to business and customers,” Choi said. “They usually end up getting more of the tips than I do because they do so much for the restaurant.”

Choi and her husband have three kids. Her oldest daughter Lois works alongside her mother when she is home from college, and middle daughter Jinha helps during the weekends. Choi’s husband checks in during the week to make sure business is running smoothly.

Integrative studies junior Lesly Alvarez said The Taste is one of her favorite places to eat not only because of the quality of the food, but also because of the homely, laid-back atmosphere.

“I love the fact that The Taste is a family-owned business,” Alvarez said. “To me, I feel like they actually put care in the food they make and they pay more attention to what their customers want because they don’t have to worry about [being a part of] a chain. The Taste keeps its Korean taste without changing it too drastically.”

As one of the only Korean restaurants in the area, Choi said one of her family’s goals is not just to sell as much food as they can. They also want to people to be more interested in and more knowledgeable about the Korean culture.

Choi said hopefully her customers will not only enjoy the food, but also appreciate the culture behind it.

“Korean food is much different than American food,” Choi said. “There’s a lot that goes in to it, like many different flavors and vegetables. People may be nervous to try it, but it lets customers branch out. I want to share our culture with people.”

Inside seating at The Taste, taken Sept. 10, 2015. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Owner Sonny Choi says she hopes her food inspires customers to learn more about Korean culture. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

The Taste employee Amy Kim said the restaurant provides a lot of different Korean dishes so that customers can get a wider range of options to choose from and learn about.

“Korean food is very diverse,” Kim said. “I’m Korean, so I know a great deal about the culture. It’s interesting to see all the students and professors come and experience new tastes and food options compared to the [common] restaurants that are everywhere else.”

Choi said although some people may be cautious to try a different culture’s food and traditional dishes, she wants to keep urging students and Denton residents to branch out of their comfort zones.

Choi said she and her family are glad to be able to share a culture that is so different than American culture with her surrounding community.

“I’m glad to be a part of an area that is so willing to be open,” Choi said. “We have slow periods and days where we may not get a lot of business, but I feel like The Taste is a part of the community in a unique way. I didn’t expect to be in this position when I moved to America originally, but I am glad that we are where we are.”

Featured Image: The Taste’s most popular dish, The Eagle Spicy Beef. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

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