After 34 years of business, one of Los Angeles’ longest running Korean restaurants, Beverly Soon Tofu, has officially closed. It was announced on Sept. 7 on their social media pages that the restaurant had come to a decision to permanently close their doors.
The first restaurant of Beverly Soon Tofu opened in 1986 by Monica Lee, and was the first Los Angeles restaurant to specialize in soondubu jjigae, soft tofu stew. Lee implemented her own unique touch to her stews, catering to whatever customers wanted in them.
Lee’s restaurant became a staple and beloved restaurant in the community, and attracted many customers of different backgrounds and famous chefs like Roy Choi.
The pandemic severely impacted the closing of the restaurant. Beverly Soon Tofu was closed for a couple of months before reopening for takeout only. But it wasn’t enough to keep the restaurant open. They were not able to manage with demand and losses caused by the pandemic, and had problems adjusting to COVID-19 regulations, due to their small location.
Although the restaurant has been permanently closed, Lee and her daughters JJ and CJ are rethinking their decision, due to the support they have gotten from the community and their customers. According to Eater Los Angeles, both CJ and JJ hope to reopen again, but only time and the pandemic will tell whether or not they will reopen.
Why is this important to us?
Many students from Hollywood High School live in Koreatown. The restaurants in Koreatown are one of the elements that keeps the community unique and alive. Many restaurants, not only Beverly Soon Tofu, have brought business and tourism to Koreatown and are jewels to the community. Many long established restaurants have already closed down, like Jun Won and Dong II Jang, due to the pandemic and raise in rent. Koreatown is known for its cultural diversity of its food, and without them the community will be left more vulnerable than it already is. Many buildings that were once supermarkets and restaurants, have been bought out and reconstructed into apartments.