WOODSTOCK - Friends and families can gather around popular Korean barbecue favorites at a recently opened restaurant in the Towne Lake community.

KPOP BBQ & Bar, located in the South Pointe at Towne Lake shopping center, had its soft opening June 7 and has a grand opening scheduled for June 24.

Visitors to the 3,100 square foot space will see modern interior design with some bright colors, including pop art from Atlanta artist Michael Coleman. Korean pop music videos are played from most of the restaurant's several televisions.

For owner Jae Shim, KPOP is her first venture, but she already has a second restaurant planned for a smaller space in the same shopping center. Seoul Food, a fast-casual place with an emphasis on to-go orders, is under construction and estimated to open later this year.

KPOP features several "all-you-can-eat" meats, which servers help guests cook on grills at the table, and groups are encouraged to share. There are also a la carte options like steaks, short ribs and seafood. Some popular dishes so far are the restaurant's beef bulgogi, beef brisket and pork belly.

Shim, a former Cherokee County resident, said she opened the restaurant to bring introduce the area to Korean barbecue, which has enjoyed success in other parts of metro Atlanta.

"I felt like there was a need to expose the Woodstock and Cherokee County community to Korean food, Korean culture. K-pop is popular, so I was like, hey, why not?," she said. "I feel like I know what people are looking for when they go to Korean barbecue."

The owner, with general manager Alex Yi, has just over 20 employees.

What makes the restaurant stand out among other Korean barbecue options, Yi said, is a wide variety of sides and sauces, as well as high quality meats.

Shim said that she plans to stay at the Towne Lake location long-term.

"I hope it's family fun, a family type of environment. I want to stay for a long time. I want to focus on getting to know the community, them feeling comfortable to where I know your name, they know my name," she said. "I want it to be a community."

KPOP is located at 1105 Parkside Lane near Woodstock. For updates, follow the KPOP BBQ & BAR Facebook page.

Shannon is a reporter covering education, city governments, crime, features, religion and other local news. She is a graduate of Young Harris College and currently lives in unincorporated Woodstock.

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