The family behind longstanding Korean barbecue restaurant Seoul Garden recently debuted a new concept. Pocha STL opened on August 21, featuring Korean street food and Asian fusion fare.
The casual concept replaces the original location of Seoul Garden, which closed earlier this year for renovations and retooling. Seoul Garden’s Creve Coeur location remains open. The family business is managed by Joyce Moon and owned by her parents, Kyung and Dong Moon.
“We wanted to do something different for St. Louis with a fun and creative environment that could cater to a contemporary type of Korean food. Pocha is short for ‘pojangmacha,” which is a culture of outdoor tent pubs,” Joyce says. “We really want it to be a comfy place for people to relax, have shots of soju and enjoy staple pub and street snack types of foods.”
Joyce’s father largely handled construction and carpentry for the space, while she worked on the interior design. The space features refinished floors and furniture alongside her hand-painted murals inspired by streetscapes and vintage Korean imagery from the ‘70s. Rotating drawings and more submitted by local artists also adorn the walls.
The comfort food menu is broken down into categories such as noodles, fried rice, stews, rice bowls, bibimbap, cheese skillets, katsu, kimbap and snacks. Highlights include army stew with spicy broth, Spam, sausage, kimchi and ramen noodles. Yaki udon, or stir-fried noodles, is another favorite available with seafood, veggies, beef or chicken.
A number of original recipes from Seoul Garden, such as spicy rice cakes, made it onto the menu alongside some modernized items. A cheesy chicken skillet, for instance, pairs Seoul Garden’s spicy chicken with cheese sauce and rice.
Asian fusion options include pork cheese fries as well as Japanese-style dishes such as omu rice – fried rice topped with egg and ketchup – and katsu, or panko-breaded and deep-fried pork, fish or chicken served with rice and cabbage salad. Traditional Korean street food options include braised pork trotters and chicken feet.
The bar features beer including Hite, Sapporo and local options as well as a large selection of Jinro soju products. Cocktails are also available including soju potions and seasonal drinks such as a cinnamon punch with Korean cinnamon punch, apple, cranberry and spiced rum.
“We’re hoping to create a space that’s uniquely Korean where all kinds of people can enjoy Asian food and culture,” Joyce says.
Pocha STL’s current hours of operation are Monday from 12 to 9pm, Wednesday through Thursday from 12 to 9pm, Friday through Saturday from 12 to 10pm and Sunday from 12 to 9pm. Dine-in as well as carryout or curbside pickup via online ordering are available.
Pocha STL, 10678 Saint Charles Rock Road, St. Ann, Missouri, 314.429.4255, pocha-stl.com