Business Profile: Seong Kim

Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2002

Title and Company: Owner and operator of Seong's Sushi Bar and Chinese take-out.

Services: Seong's Sushi Bar offers a full sushi and Oriental menu for dine-in, take-out or catering. The restaurant's menu has changed very little since it opened five years ago, Kim said, but the popularity of the restaurant's cuisine has grown.

"When I first started, I didn't have very many customers," he said. "People weren't very into the sushi. But now people like more of the spicy food and the sushi." He is quick to explain that sushi is not unique to Japan.

"There is sushi all over Asia," he said. "The Japanese brought it to America first, but let me tell you, it's all over the place there."

The restaurant is in the middle of an expansion that will allow Kim to seat 30 customers.

He was trained as a sushi chef in Korea and the United States, and worked for six years at his parents' restaurant, the now-closed Golden Dragon, before starting his own. Kim closed his Juneau restaurant for six months in 2000 to open a similar restaurant in Skagway. His Skagway operation was very successful, he said, but he had only a year-long lease.

Kim is very happy with his customer base in Juneau.

"I have about 200 very loyal customers in Juneau," he said. "There are pictures of my loyal customers on the wall in the restaurant, because I want to make it feel like home for them."

He said the restaurant has such a family atmosphere that some of his customers will help with the dishes and bus tables if it gets too busy.

Biographical information: Kim was born in 1965 in Korea. He came to the United States in 1985 and became a U.S. citizen in 1990. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed in Hawaii for four years, and he has worked in the seafood industry as a processor for 12 years in Juneau and Korea.

Family: Wife, Ninsuk; daughters Stephanie, 12, and Hanna, 5. Kim has a brother and sister-in-law in town. His parents live in Anchorage.

Quotable: "A restaurant in Juneau is different than down south. Up here it's more relaxing, family style. I worked at restaurants down south and it's not pleasant to work in those restaurants."

Contact Information: Seong's Sushi Bar is at 740 W. 9th St. downtown. The phone number is 586-4778.

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