TKO, short for “The Korean One”, first started as a one night pop-up shop at Ration & Dram. Due to its popularity and success, it has since been seen at other restaurants throughout the city, including Full Commission, Sweet Auburn BBQ, Buteco, Georgia Beer Garden and more.
The 400 sq. foot counter service menu will be home to some of the favorites this restaurant has become known for. Popular dishes include a Volcano Hot Dog, Korean Fried Chicken Nuggets, Kimchi Fried Rice and more unique dishes by Chef Lino Yi.
Lino shared his reasoning for starting up TKO, “Much like my own upbringing, I’m forming a bridge between Korean and American cultures and traditions,” says Lino. “Growing up, our Thanksgiving dinners had turkey and gravy as well as Korean BBQ and kimchi. There is an amalgamation of new and retro called Newtro in Korean culture. It’s modernized retro, which is something I also want to represent in my food. I want to show respect for the rich history of both Korean and American food, but I want to modernize them with new techniques and ingredients.”
This is not Lino’s first rodeo! Getting his start in the restaurant business back home with his parents in Orlando, was where he gained a love and appreciation for the culinary arts. His first experience with restaurant opening was in 2007. His parents opened a restaurant called the Korean Kitchen. Unfortunately, when the recession hit in 2010, they chose to close down the business, but Lino vowed to open another brick and mortar Korean kitchen, and so TKO was born.
Lino currently works as a sous-chef at Lazy Betty and will remain there until TKO opens its doors later this summer. TKO will be open daily for lunch and dinner, and for late night on the weekends.