By Joey McWilliams
CALERA – The newest restaurant in Calera has been open now for a couple of weeks. And although the food may bring a new taste to the town, the owners of Seoul Korean Kitchen aren’t new to Calera.
Grace Chesnut, who takes care of the customers as they come into Seoul, is a part of the family that owns the restaurant. Chesnut’s family has once again found a home in Calera, but they have seen many other parts of the world along the way.
“My mom was born and raised in South Korea, Seoul,” Chesnut said. “My father is an American who served in the military. He was in the Air Force and he met my mother oversees in a restaurant that she owned in Korea.
“Originally, we moved here because my father had work in Dallas. My aunt, who owns Okie Donuts, was here already. We lived here for a little while and I went to Calera school. And then we decided to move because my dad had a better opportunity in south Florida.
“Once the market crashed and everything happened, he was looking for another job and he found one here at Choctaw and they moved here.”
And Chesnut said getting back into the restaurant business was only a matter of time.
“My mom’s been wanting a restaurant since forever, since she moved to the United States, but there were never the right conditions for it to happen or for it to transpire. But somehow, someway as a family, we all pulled together and this is how Seoul started.”
Chesnut went to school in Calera from fourth through sixth grades. After that she attended school in Florida, went to college and traveled to Europe.
Right now, she and her family are introducing a new taste to the area, and tailoring the experience to this location.
“It’s authentic Korean food that is mostly geared toward the American palette, because some people are not so adventurous,” Chesnut said. “But we have opportunities to become more adventurous. We definitely want to meet people like that and put people onto that here in Calera.
“We can get you a thinly sliced ribeye that is marinated in our house sauce, traditional Korean sauce that is called bulgogi.”
“And the Korean sticky wings are really good. And the Korean mandu, which are fried dumplings, that are made with beef and have a rice paper on the outside, that makes it really good.”
Seoul is located at 102 W. Haynie in Calera and customers can call in at (580)434-8600.
Chesnut gave a personal invitation to the community.
“Please come and experience our family.”