An outpost of beloved Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon has managed to quietly open in the SF Metreon. It’s now open in the food court for indoor dining or takeout alongside Chipotle, Super Duper, Uji Time, and the still-closed Tsuta ramen with a full menu of chicken-related snacks.
When Bonchon opened its first Bay Area location in Berkeley in 2017, Eater readers were excited. The chain has a cult following, at least in the regions where it is more prolific like the East coast, and this was arguably the location most convenient to San Francisco (there are three other locations in South San Francisco, San Mateo, and San Leandro).
Though known primarily for its double-fried chicken, the menu does include other Korean dishes like japchae, bulgogi, and kimchi fried rice, as well as potstickers, shu mai, and takoyaki. It’s that crispy, crunchy fried chicken that draws in diners though, with wings, drumsticks, strips, and boneless nuggets all acting as vessels for soy garlic or spicy sauce.
The chain was founded in 2002 in Busan, South Korea, before beginning its rapid expansion across the globe, with over 350 locations; its US expansion has been in high gear since it celebrated its 100th store opening in January 2020 in Pleasanton, CA, in fact.
The Bay Area is often a proving ground for Asian chain concepts such as Bonchon, the aforementioned Tsuta Ramen (a Michelin-starred Tokyo ramen restaurant), Japanese pancake cafe Gram, Marugame Udon, and more.