Oakblue Kitchen plans June opening in downtown Greenville
Food lovers craving a Southern meal or Asian cuisine will have the best of both worlds when Oakblue Kitchen opens in downtown Greenville in June.
The 2,500-square-foot restaurant, located at 109 N. Main St., will feature a contemporary rustic design and offer various Southern and Korean foods.
Menu items include traditional Southern and Korean barbecue, fried chicken, ribs, mac and cheese, kimchi and more. The restaurant will also offer a beverage menu of crafted cocktails, local beers and various wines that will be served at a bar.
The unique culinary concept was thought up by John Ko, former owner of Local Taco. He formulated the idea during his time at the popular taco stop. And after selling the restaurant last fall, Ko decided to pursue his new concept, one fueled by a culturally diverse upbringing.
“I grew up in a traditional Korean family in south Georgia. My mom was an excellent cook, and we had Korean food most nights. But sometimes we would get local barbecue from the side of the road,” Ko said. “I just love Southern comfort foods, so I decided to blend my favorites from both.”
Ko was also inspired by downtown Greenville’s growing food scene.
“I love the idea that people are venturing out and that there is more than just shrimp and grits in downtown. I just felt that I could add a little twist and bring something new to the table,” Ko said.
However, Ko needed help bringing his concept to life. He recruited Kris McGowan, a veteran chef who he met in 2012 after opening Local Taco on Conestee Avenue in Greenville.
Since then, the two have worked together to perfect the menu.
“It’s about showcasing the best of both cuisines. They share a lot — vegetables, starches and meats. So you start from the same spot but end up with two very different meals. It’s about letting everyone try a bit of everything,” McGowan said.
Oakblue Kitchen will offer lunch and dinner and outside and inside seating once it opens in June. An opening day has not been set.