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A Casual Korean Newcomer Rides Into USC’s Gigantic Village Project

Pork belly, bulgogi, and kimchi to go

Kobunga Korean Grill
Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

USC’s massive new Village project is up and running, bringing off-campus housing, basic services like a Trader Joe’s, and a slew of fast casual food offerings all together in one gigantic brick-lined plaza. Among the new tenants at the 15-acre development is Kobunga Korean Grill, a takeaway fast casual option that will hold its official opening this weekend.

Kobunga is the work of founder John Kim, who wanted to craft a casual takeaway option that mirrored familiar Korean flavors. That means staple proteins like pork belly, bulgogi, and soft tofu done plate-style with brown or white rice and sides like kimchi and pickles. Kim has also brought in chef Steve Cho, formerly of the ongoing Littlemeats pop-ups, to help oversee things at the 750-square-foot shop. Cho has a past cooking Texas-style barbecue with Korean flavors, and now the two are working to take this first location to the students, and maybe beyond.

Kobunga Korean Grill is soft open as of yesterday, and will hold a grand opening party on Saturday. After that expect hours from lunch through dinner (11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily), with possible late night hours to come depending on demand. Meanwhile USC Village continues to scale up around the restaurant, with new openings like Wahlburgers and Barilla, and fried chicken hit Honeybird still to come.

Kobunga Korean Grill
929 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Inside Kobunga
Kobunga’s brick and neon exterior shows at the new USC Village.
The look from outside