LTH Home

Pusan House

Pusan House
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Pusan House

    Post #1 - September 24th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    Post #1 - September 24th, 2005, 1:06 pm Post #1 - September 24th, 2005, 1:06 pm
    The family that owned a place called Pusan House that used to be in the 6900 block of north Glenwood Av in Chicago shut it down several years ago to open a nicer place with a different name in Wrigleyville, they said. I never checked it out, and don't know its name or location, though I'd like to. I know the owners were Japanese, not Korean, as the name would indicate. I miss the donburi and hot pepper chicken
  • Post #2 - September 24th, 2005, 1:39 pm
    Post #2 - September 24th, 2005, 1:39 pm Post #2 - September 24th, 2005, 1:39 pm
    The juvenile PIGMON and his PIGWOMON (Wife 1.0) used to frequent Pusan house back in the 80's. They'd go for a greasy, almost fried rice-like, BiBimBop.

    Neither one of us heard anything about them ever opening a new place though. If I'm not mistaken the original owners may have been Japanese, but by the time I tried Pusan House--maybe 8-ish years ago, it's owners were neither Korean nor Japanese, but Hispanic.

    I thought the hole-in-the-wall place was fun. Sadly, the next time I wanted to go after my initial visit the doors had been shut for good, with no indication that they might re-open, there or otherwise.
  • Post #3 - September 24th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Post #3 - September 24th, 2005, 3:19 pm Post #3 - September 24th, 2005, 3:19 pm
    Went to the Pusan House regularly in the late 80s... Never inquired if Richard was Korean but he definitley wasn't hispanic. Pusan Spaghetti was my dish.

    Pan Asia was the name of the place in Wrigleyville, and it was definitely a step up decor-wise but the menu was pretty much the same.

    It's been gone for a while now.
  • Post #4 - September 24th, 2005, 3:36 pm
    Post #4 - September 24th, 2005, 3:36 pm Post #4 - September 24th, 2005, 3:36 pm
    Thanks, Fritz. You're right, Richard was the name of the owner. Good memory! I wonder if he tried anything else after Pan Asia .... And you're right, too, trixie-pea, I had forgotten that there was some kind of Hispanic-operated period of Pusan House, post-Richard, I believe.
  • Post #5 - September 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm
    Post #5 - September 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm Post #5 - September 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm
    When Trixie said she thought Pusan House was bought out sometime later by Hispanics, I think she meant in its very last few years. If my memory serves me correctly (which it probably doesn't), that would be sometime in the early 90s. Either way, we might be totally erroneous here about the ownership.
  • Post #6 - October 4th, 2007, 10:29 am
    Post #6 - October 4th, 2007, 10:29 am Post #6 - October 4th, 2007, 10:29 am
    Hi everyone,

    I recently stumbled upon this forum. My parents' (Richard and Piya) used to own Pusan House and then Pan Asia Cafe (Wrigleyville). The Pan Asian menus for both restaurants come from my mom's Thai/Chinese and my dad's Japanese backgrounds. I showed them the comments recently (they aren't that computer savy) and both were delighted to read your comments. My mom threw out her back which was the main reason why they decided to close. She told me to thank everyone for the comments they posted.

    She misses the restaurant business and every now and then contemplates opening another restaurant.

    Thanks again for the comments
  • Post #7 - October 4th, 2007, 10:46 am
    Post #7 - October 4th, 2007, 10:46 am Post #7 - October 4th, 2007, 10:46 am
    How funny to see this! Years ago we lived on Lunt, and Pusan House, whose name I'd since forgotten, was my first experience with Korean food! I remember that it switched to Latino ownership shortly after we discovered it, and started offering flan for dessert - but the entrees just weren't up to par after that.
  • Post #8 - October 4th, 2007, 11:22 am
    Post #8 - October 4th, 2007, 11:22 am Post #8 - October 4th, 2007, 11:22 am
    There is currently a Korean owned place called Noon Hour Grill on the 6900 block of Glenwood, which is apparently a reincarnation of a spot that was there in the 1980's called Susie's. I keep planning on checking it out for lunch. Maybe today or tommorow I will. I think it may actually be in the same space as Pusan House or right next door. Did the original Susie's become Pusan House?

    Noon Hour Grill
    6930 N Glenwood Ave
    Chicago, IL 60626
    (773) 338-9494
  • Post #9 - October 4th, 2007, 2:12 pm
    Post #9 - October 4th, 2007, 2:12 pm Post #9 - October 4th, 2007, 2:12 pm
    Just in case the former owners are still reading:
    Pusan House holds a very affectionate place in my Chicago memories. When I used to live in the neighborhood and even after, when I worked at Lifeline Theatre, we would almost always go there for pre-performance dinners or between shows on 2-show days. The prices were just what young actors could afford, portions were generous, and the food was delicious. Tasted my first bibim bop there, as well as kimchi. Missed it terribly when it went away.
    Thanks for all the great meals.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #10 - October 4th, 2007, 3:11 pm
    Post #10 - October 4th, 2007, 3:11 pm Post #10 - October 4th, 2007, 3:11 pm
    d4v3 wrote:There is currently a Korean owned place called Noon Hour Grill on the 6900 block of Glenwood, which is apparently a reincarnation of a spot that was there in the 1980's called Susie's. I keep planning on checking it out for lunch. Maybe today or tommorow I will. I think it may actually be in the same space as Pusan House or right next door. Did the original Susie's become Pusan House?

    Noon Hour Grill
    6930 N Glenwood Ave
    Chicago, IL 60626
    (773) 338-9494


    I wonder if that's the new location of the Noon Hour Grill that used to be located across the street from Cafe 28. There was a sign on the window when they closed (quite a while ago) saying they would reopen elsewhere and would advertise it in the Reader. I don't often read it, so I have no idea if there was an ad or not.

    I was only there once, but I liked it. The woman who ran it was berating someone for going out into the cold to go to th atm (you pay next time - too cold outside!) and fussed over me when I didn't finish off every bite on my plate.

    -gtgirl
  • Post #11 - October 4th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    Post #11 - October 4th, 2007, 3:15 pm Post #11 - October 4th, 2007, 3:15 pm
    gtgirl wrote:
    d4v3 wrote:There is currently a Korean owned place called Noon Hour Grill on the 6900 block of Glenwood, which is apparently a reincarnation of a spot that was there in the 1980's called Susie's. I keep planning on checking it out for lunch. Maybe today or tommorow I will. I think it may actually be in the same space as Pusan House or right next door. Did the original Susie's become Pusan House?

    Noon Hour Grill
    6930 N Glenwood Ave
    Chicago, IL 60626
    (773) 338-9494


    I wonder if that's the new location of the Noon Hour Grill that used to be located across the street from Cafe 28. There was a sign on the window when they closed (quite a while ago) saying they would reopen elsewhere and would advertise it in the Reader. I don't often read it, so I have no idea if there was an ad or not.

    I was only there once, but I liked it. The woman who ran it was berating someone for going out into the cold to go to th atm (you pay next time - too cold outside!) and fussed over me when I didn't finish off every bite on my plate.

    -gtgirl


    Just googled iot. It's the same place:

    Opening Wednesday June 6th, the Noon Hour Grill will be open for business at 6930 N. Glenwood. The Noon Hour Grill is relocating to Rogers Park after losing their space under the Irving Park EL. Proprietor Soon Lee will be coming back home, so to speak, as she used to operate the Pusan House in the same building on Glenwood 20 years ago. Noon Hour Grill will be serving breakfast and lunch, with a menu featuring traditional American grill and Korean dishes. Eggs, potatoes and toast, bul go gi, bi bim bop, kalbi and other traditional Korean and American dishes will be served.

    -gtgirl
  • Post #12 - October 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm
    Post #12 - October 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm Post #12 - October 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm
    Wow, it is the same woman, who originally owned Pusan House before selling it to Miharu's parents. Very cool. I will eat lunch there tommorow during the "noon hour". It looks like a nice little place.
  • Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 4:00 pm
    Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 4:00 pm Post #13 - October 4th, 2007, 4:00 pm
    I had my first taste of pool gogi ( as it was called on the menu then) back in the late 70's. It's also where I taught myself to use chopsticks to more easily remove the onions which I did not liek the texture of!

    I too will be back there and soon!
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #14 - October 5th, 2007, 12:03 am
    Post #14 - October 5th, 2007, 12:03 am Post #14 - October 5th, 2007, 12:03 am
    I used to get a poolgogi omelette with cheddar and hash browns circa 80-81. I think it was $3.99.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #15 - October 5th, 2007, 7:54 am
    Post #15 - October 5th, 2007, 7:54 am Post #15 - October 5th, 2007, 7:54 am
    Back when Mrs. Roadhouse and I were first married (1979) and our daughter, abe froeman(!) was just a wee baby, we lived at the corner of Lakewood and Albion, walking distance from Pusan House. Like some others who have posted on this thread, Pusan House was our first exposure to Korean food.

    The few times we were there, the place appeared to be run by a pair of adorable Korean (we thought) grandmothers. One did the cooking while the other would serve, shuffling in very small steps between the kitchen and the tiny didning room. Service was very slow but friendly and the food, at the time, was a real adventure.

    After we left the neighborhood, we thought of Pusan House frequently and were deeply saddened when, upon returning for the occasional nostalgic visit, discovered it was no longer there. We always worried about the health of the two women who ran the place.

    There was another Korean place, Poolgogi House(?) up on Morse, also near Glenwood and very close to the apartment where one of my grandmothers lived. We visited there on a couple of occasions, but it lacked the cozy, family run atmosphere of Pusan House, catering instead to the hipper sensibilities of the younger residents of East Rogers Park.

    Buddy
  • Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 8:18 am
    Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 8:18 am Post #16 - October 5th, 2007, 8:18 am
    Poolgogi was owned by the Kwak's (beautiful people). It was on Morse just east of Glenwood on the North side of the street. Besides bibim bop, the mul man doo, galbi and chop chae were all excellent. They set the standard for early Korean in Chicago.

    I grew up a few houses off the lake in E. Roger's Park (idyllic) and lived there again throughout the late 70's-mid 80's. Truthfully, this was my go to more so than Pusan, which came a bit later and was also smaller. The Seoul Standard. Most of my Korean friends (at the time, nurses I worked with at Edgewater Hospital in another life) opted for Poolgogi as well because it was Korean owned.

    I was often invited into their homes to eat and shared their lunches when they brought them to work. Kimbop, a sushi like nori wrapped rice and vegetable roll remains my favorite Seoul food.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 9:04 am
    Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 9:04 am Post #17 - October 5th, 2007, 9:04 am
    I have to get in on the "me too"s

    Poolgogi was my introduction to Korean food in the '70s and we ate there fairly frequently. I knew of no other Korean restaurant and only discovered Pusan House after Poolgogi closed. I loved that neighborhood and spent many evenings at the original No Exit, drinking tea and listening to music before I was old enough to get into bars.
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 9:34 am
    Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 9:34 am Post #18 - October 5th, 2007, 9:34 am
    Hmm, my mom did say it was on Morse so I bet she was thinking of Poolgogi House but I distinctly remember walking into the restaurant with the train tracks opposite the door.
  • Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 9:55 am
    Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 9:55 am Post #19 - October 5th, 2007, 9:55 am
    Pusan faced the el on the west side of Glenwood. Pollgogi was on Morse on the north side of the st, just east of Glenwood, aprox 1/2 a blk away.

    Thinking that Kwok is the proper spelling of the owners name.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 9:22 pm
    Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 9:22 pm Post #20 - October 5th, 2007, 9:22 pm
    I went to Poolgogi even before I discoverd Pusan.
    I had just returned from a few months in NY, moved into my first roach-infested, mildly-to-largely deranged neighbors on either side, studio above the geriatric appliances store at the corner of Clark and Touhy (across from Romanian), and set about looking for a job. It was a very wet, cold fall ('82 I think), and when I'd made a contact or had an interview or perhaps even got out of bed and brushed my teeth---anything I could stretch into deserving a reward---I would allow myself to go to Poolgogi and spend some of my dwindling funds on the hot, delicious, exotic (to me) food.
    It was only later, after i had a job, that I discovered Pusan.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #21 - October 6th, 2007, 3:46 pm
    Post #21 - October 6th, 2007, 3:46 pm Post #21 - October 6th, 2007, 3:46 pm
    I checked out Susie's Noon Hour Grill today, and can definitively say that Susie (AKA Soon Li) was indeed the original owner of the Pusan House. She explained that she opened Pusan House in the late 1970's and ran the place with another Korean woman. These must be the two Korean "grandmas" that Buddy mentioned, although at the time they were probably younger than Buddy or I am now (old age is relative). Susie sold the restaurant to her server (who may actually have been a little older than Susie), who in turn sold it to Richard. Coincidently, Susie told me that Richard stopped in today to say hi.

    Anyhow, those of you who are nostalgic for the Korean/American comfort food of Pusan House will find the Noon Hour's menu very familiar. Susie still makes jazzfood's bulgogi omelet, with or without kimchee (now 5.75) as well as a ginger, garlic and carrot one (4.25). Like the Pusan House, the entrées feature Bi Bim Bop, ChopChae and Bulgogi, as well as some other asian-american dishes like teriyaki, ramen soup and fried rice. Susie offers daily specials. Wednesday is "Pusan spaghetti" day as mentioned by Fritz above, and Thursday is roast Pork.

    The new space was small and the decor was a little cold and stark, but Susie was absolutely warm and charming. She said many of her old customers were coming by to welcome her back to the neighborhood. She is running the place by herself, so things are a tad slow, and it seems she could use some help clearing the tables, but the food was pretty good. It was not earth shattering, but simple and tasty in a homemade way. I like having a Korean grill close to the house again. I will have to return soon to try a bulgogi omelet for breakfast.

    Today, we tried the Pa Jeon (vegetable pancakes), which came 3 to an order. They were good, but not quite as well done as I like them. The next time I will ask for them a little brown.
    Image

    We also had the Yook Gae Jang (listed as Yook Gue Jung on the menu), a spicy and flavorful beef and cabbage soup.
    Image

    And of course, we had Susie's tasty and filling Bi Bim Bop for old time's sake.
    Image

    edited to correct spelling
    Last edited by d4v3 on October 30th, 2013, 12:46 pm, edited 3 times in total.
  • Post #22 - October 12th, 2007, 8:52 am
    Post #22 - October 12th, 2007, 8:52 am Post #22 - October 12th, 2007, 8:52 am
    A personal reminiscence of the Pusan House / Pool Gogi Steak House: Pool Gogi originally occupied the Pusan space on Glenwood, but moved to Morse in the late 70's. The mid-70's line for Sunday breakfast at the Glenwood Pool Gogi used to be out the door - all the Rogers Park freaks knowing a great deal when they saw it: you got coffee, eggs, rice, and poolgogi for a couple of bucks. The space on Morse was huge in comparison, and had two stainless-steel bowls prominently displayed on a post at the entry ("Competitors' bowl of bi bim bop" on the smaller; "OUR bowl of bi bim bop" on the larger.) Just who the competition was back then remains a mystery to me.

    When I moved back to RP in '79 I found Pusan House where Pool Gogi had been, and "Mrs. Soon" (as I called her) busy turning out student-priced meals. I particularly liked the yook gae jiang (heck, I liked everything there), and in response to my prodding Mrs. Soon kept making it spicier each time I came in. My last memory was taking some friends there in the early '80's and unsuccessfully trying to get Mrs. Soon to tone it down a bit for them. Poor Joe Bianco literally sprinted out the front door about 1/3 of the way into his bowl of soup. Probably ran up to Morse for a six-pack - at any rate I never saw him again.
    BobHerm
    Near West Side
    "Okay, we've ordered lunch. Now let's decide where to go for dinner."
  • Post #23 - June 22nd, 2008, 3:31 pm
    Post #23 - June 22nd, 2008, 3:31 pm Post #23 - June 22nd, 2008, 3:31 pm
    Pusan House! Hurray! I can't believe it's back! It was also my first introduction to Korean. I was working in RP, did not have a lot of money, and often ate at Pusan. Hot pepper chicken and bi bim bap were my two favorites. I think if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, bi bim bap might be it.

    It's funny that so many LTHers first had Korean food in RP. Is the Korean settlement in Albany Park more recent? It was outside my known area in the early 80s, so it could have been there and I wouldn't have known. When I wanted Korean food other than Pusan, I would go to a place in Wrigleyville on Clark just north of where the tracks cross over-- around Roscoe, I think-- Sam Mee's, maybe it was called? It was a large place, and nearly always just about empty, in the mid-80s. We always thought they must be making their money off something other than food. But the food was quite good-- and according to a friend we took there, who had been in the Peace Corps in Korea, it was fairly authentic. Since Pusan did not serve panchan, this was the first place we had panchan, and I remember how totally amazed we were the first time they arrived.

    (By the way, my other super cheap food at the time was the really delicious potato pancakes at the greasy spoon/grill on the south side of Morse, three or four doors west of Glenwood. I believe it was five potato pancakes for $2, or something like that. An excellent lunch. Very yummy, although the place reeked of smoking grease, and seemed like the kind of place where you would wonder if the food was safe. I have the idea it was also run by Koreans, but I may be completely wrong about that.)
  • Post #24 - October 30th, 2013, 1:25 pm
    Post #24 - October 30th, 2013, 1:25 pm Post #24 - October 30th, 2013, 1:25 pm
    I decided to resurrect this thread because of some recent posts to the BiBimBop thread. It is about time Susie got some more attention. She is a real treasure. Like Burt, she is almost a culinary landmark.

    As you can read above, many LTHers can trace their first introduction to Korean food back to the late 70s and Susie's Pusan House. While I was not so lucky, my introduction to Korean food, happened about the same time, but in North Carolina(where I was stationed in the Army). What sticks in my head though, is that the place was run by a lone Korean woman who, like Susie, did all the cooking and serving by herself. I fondly remember the woman as being like a mother or grandmother as well as a dedicated entrepreneur.

    When I returned to Chicago, after my military stint, I was reintroduced to Korean food at a small storefront joint at Halsted and Lake street (at the edge of the Randolph street Market). I worked nearby and would get lunch several times a week at the tiny one-woman operation. Again, the woman who ran the place seemed genuinely interested in my well-being and treated me like family, making sure I polished off my ChopChae, BoolGogi or BiBimBap while telling me I needed to marry a nice girl who would cook for me.

    Flash forward to the 90's and the Jarvis Grill, which (at the time) was a fast-food hamburger stand owned by another hard working matronly Korean woman who treated me more like a nephew than just a customer. She also ran the whole operation, with no help from her family, but still found time to make BoolGoGi (which was not on the menu) especially for me. She even went out of her way to get her favorite purple grained rice and Korean pears to make it.

    Then there is Susie, another strong Korean small business owner, who works amazingly hard to run a restaurant by herself, and also has a gentle and caring side. Like the other women discussed above, she treats her customers like family. Am I wrong, or is there a pattern here? It seems that quite a few Korean women open small restaurants which are basically one-person operations that feature down home cooking and ambiance.
  • Post #25 - November 27th, 2013, 4:21 pm
    Post #25 - November 27th, 2013, 4:21 pm Post #25 - November 27th, 2013, 4:21 pm
    Have been jonesing for bulgogi and eggs w/cheese since I realized Susie was back in the house of Pusan. Hard not to get the bibim bop but it was worth it. A bit saltier that I recall but better than any cheese steak I've ever had.
    bulgogi and eggs.JPG
    pusan susie.jpg
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #26 - January 12th, 2015, 5:59 pm
    Post #26 - January 12th, 2015, 5:59 pm Post #26 - January 12th, 2015, 5:59 pm
    Judy H wrote:It's funny that so many LTHers first had Korean food in RP. Is the Korean settlement in Albany Park more recent? It was outside my known area in the early 80s, so it could have been there and I wouldn't have known. When I wanted Korean food other than Pusan, I would go to a place in Wrigleyville on Clark just north of where the tracks cross over-- around Roscoe, I think-- Sam Mee's, maybe it was called?

    Sam Mee wasn't Chicago's first Korean restaurant but it was one of the very earliest (and one that lasted a while). When it opened in 1967, in the spot that's now O'Hagan's parking lot, it was the only one in the city. A small Korean business district grew up around it, with Arirang Food Mart, Seoul Travel Agency and the Korea Times newspaper opening within a few blocks and within a few years. The next several Korean restaurants were scattered around the North Side, with Seoul House (Clark & Balmoral), Korean Pagoda (Broadway & Surf), Korea House (Clark & Aldine) and Hang Bok Won (Lincoln & Cornelia) all opening by 1972. The "next wave" (to about 1976) included Cho Sun Ok (Lincoln & Berteau), Chop Chae House (Clark & Hollywood), Dae Ho (Devon & California) and Poolgogi Steakhouse (first on Glenwood, later around the corner on Morse). I'm not sure what was the first Korean restaurant in Albany Park but I'm guessing it opened in the late 1970s. By the early '80s, Lawrence Avenue had several (plus many other Korean-owned businesses) and was attracting more every year. My understanding is that Albany Park, beginning in the late 1970s, had the city's densest-ever concentration of Koreans and was the first neighborhood in which much of the property was Korean-owned.

    Jazzfood wrote:Have been jonesing for bulgogi and eggs w/cheese since I realized Susie was back in the house of Pusan. Hard not to get the bibim bop but it was worth it. A bit saltier that I recall but better than any cheese steak I've ever had.

    In the Noon Hour Grill thread, Jefe wrote:So, I've been digging the combination of processed cheese and kimchi lately and I was pretty stoked by the presence of white American cheese in this guy. However, the bulgogi, kimchi, and cheese made for a salt/umami overload. This is great end-of-the-night/hangover food, but I was glad to share it on this visit.

    Yes! Salty!! That bulgogi & kimchee omelet (with cheese) at Noon Hour Grill might've had more salt than any meal I've eaten in years. I'm not exaggerating.

    Image

    It tasted good but I could hardly drink enough water the rest of the day. Even the next morning I was still parched. I like the Noon Hour experience a lot and will certainly return but need to remember to drink a couple liters of water before.

    Noon Hour Grill
    6930 N Glenview Av
    Chicago
    773-338-9494
  • Post #27 - November 2nd, 2016, 8:27 am
    Post #27 - November 2nd, 2016, 8:27 am Post #27 - November 2nd, 2016, 8:27 am
    My running friends and I discovered Pusan House in 1978. We were running 100 mile weeks and were always extremely in need of high quality calories. We went to Pusan House 3 or more times a week, brought in our own beer as was the custom in those days. Soon would chat with us when we were there during slow times, and we came to regard her as a close friend. She didn't charge enough for her food so we'd retaliate by tipping her 100% or more. This always caused escalation as we noticed our portions kept getting bigger, and she'd bring out additional dishes we hadn't ordered. I moved away from Chicago at the end of the year but made it a point to always go back to Pusan whenever we were in Chicago. Soon would always be glad to see me and inquired about my other friends. We met the couple who were the 2nd owners on our first trip after the sale. Very nice people and very good food. I need to do a Chicago road trip again to go visit the Noon Time Grill!

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more