On May 26, Chong Jeffries opened her first restaurant. Kbop Korean Fusion
Café is her tribute to the food and culture of her native Korea. She’s lived in Colorado Springs since 2004 — her husband’s military, and he wanted to retire here. Mostly, she’s spent the last 14 years raising their kids, but as they’ve grown up, she decided to start her own small business.
“I always wanted to [share] Korean food and Korean culture in my hometown,” she says. “I was thinking about doing a nail salon before, but I thought this would be better.”
One thing that sets Kbop apart from the city’s numerous Korean eateries is bingsu, also called bingsoo or Korean shaved ice. It’s made from ice shaved ultra-fine, here made with dairy for a creamier base flavor, served with a variety of toppings. Her best-seller is the strawberry bingsu, served with granola, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, almonds and sweet cream, though lately, the cotton candy bingsu’s been very popular. It’s a lighter dessert, she says, and between that and savory fare, she’s earned a lot of repeat customers.
But she’s no seasoned restaurant veteran — this is her first time cooking professionally.
“I just got some ideas from people, the internet, and trial and error,” she says. Her recipes are “what most Koreans are eating [at home],” she says, but she plans to incorporate more ingredients and more cultures into her menu down the line. Her biggest draw though, she says, is the relatively low prices — most savory items go for $10 or less, so she’s banking on regulars.