Bok a Bok Fried Chicken replaces the Capitol Hill Paseo, which is apparently moving to a larger space sometime in the future.
Bok a Bok Fried Chicken replaces the Capitol Hill Paseo, which is apparently moving to a larger space sometime in the future.

Korean-inspired Bok A Bok Fried Chicken has opened next to The Runaway, replacing popular Caribbean sandwich shop Paseo, whose Capitol Hill expansion was highly anticipated but short-lived.

While wrapping up his Sodo expansion, Paseo owner Ryan Santwire signed a lease with Neumos to take over space once occupied by Pike Street Fish Fry at 925 E. Pike St. After a lengthy delay, Paseo opened in late February. Santwire could not be reached for comment, but has been cited as saying he needed a bigger place that can accommodate liquor sales, so it’s possible Paseo will be back on the Hill some day. Paseo had teamed up with The Runaway — formerly Moe Bar — to expand sales.

Bok A Bok Fried Chicken, which opened on Friday, also plans to partner with its neighbors for any and all late-night fried chicken needs.

Bok A Bok owner Brian O’Connor, who was the chef in charge when Skillet first started, opened the original location in White Center back in June 2016, but he’s been looking forward to opening a second location for quite a while.

“I’ve been looking for a new location for about a year now,” he said.

Some of the most popular menu items include kimchi mac and cheese, a yuzu chicken sandwich and a sesame soy garlic chicken sandwich.

“People are a little leery [of the menu], including my wife and my business partner,” O’Connor admitted. While the food pays respect to classic Korean techniques, it’s not traditional Korean cuisine. However, “it’s really delicious chicken, and that’s the point.”

Even though Bok A Bok operates in a fast-casual manner, everything in the restaurant is made by hand using sustainable techniques.

“There’s a lot of labor that goes into what we do,” O’Connor said.

A Korean woman in White Center makes the kimchi.

O’Connor’s plan for the new location is to be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for regular walk-in business, and then shift to a smaller menu after 11 p.m. for the late-night concert-going crowd.

The menu at the new location will stay virtually the same as in White Center, although their recipes are constantly evolving, O’Connor said.

The only major difference between the two locations is the lack of a liquor license at the Capitol Hill joint, but the neighboring bars should make up for that.

“People can still get food and still be happy,” O’Connor said about his vision for late nights.

As for the future, O’Connor said he plans to eventually have 10-20 locations.