About

Our Story

Vatos Urban Tacos sprang from the minds (and bellies) of three Korean-Americans who wanted to offer a new type of dining experience in Korea. Kenny and Sid hail from Southern California, and Juweon planted his roots in Texas; hence, all three spent the majority of their lives growing up on authentic Mexican food. Simultaneously, all three were fed a steady diet of home-made Korean food lovingly prepared by their first generation mothers. Inevitably, such an environment led to the natural progression towards Korean-Mexican fusion cuisine, and to the creation of dishes like the Kimchi Carnitas Fries, Galbi Tacos, and Spicy Chicken Quesadillas were born. Vatos Urban Tacos has since garnered praise for providing exciting new tastes using only the freshest ingredients. CNN named Vatos the “Hottest New Restaurant in Seoul.” 10 Magazine chose the Kimchi Carnitas Fries as the “Best Dish in Korea.”

A Short History of Vatos

APR 19, 2011 Kenny Park begins Kickstarter campaign

JUN 30, 2011 Kenny Park, Juweon Kim, and Sid Kim become partners in Vatos Urban Tacos.

NOV 4, 2011 Vatos Urban Tacos opens for business in its original location at 66-8 Itaewon-dong.

SEP 21, 2012 Vatos Urban Tacos Itaewon moves to a larger location at 181-8 Itaewon-dong.

OCT 6, 2012 Vatos Express Apgujeong opens in the Gourmet 494 Food Court in Galleria Department Store.

JUN 18, 2013 The Sinsa branch of Vatos Urban Tacos opens on Garusogil, at 532-11 Gangnam-gu, Sinsa-dong 3F.

NOV 21, 2014 Vatos Express Yeongdeungpo opens at Lotte Department Store, Yeongdeungpo.

JUN 26, 2015  Vatos Urban Tacos Jamsil Opens (Vatos Express Yeongdeungpo relocation/expansion to Jamsil)

DEC 4, 2015 Vatos Urban Tacos Singapore opens on 35 Beach Road, Singapore (Vatos’ first global expansion).

MAY 2016 Urban Collective, a multifunctional event and dining space with its own kitchen and bar, opens in the space adjacent to Vatos Itaewon.

NOV 4, 2016 Vatos Express Singapore opens at Timbre+ on our five-year anniversary

juweon-kim-1

Born in Korea but raised mostly in Texas, Juweon displays a borderline annoying amount of pride in being from Texas, a University of Texas at Austin alumni, and a San Antonio Spurs fan. After five years of working in Korea’s broadcasting industry, Juweon had the opportunity to shoot a natural history documentary in Antarctica for three months. That trip turned out to be a life changer. The magic of Antarctica, sailing across the vast Southern Atlantic and most importantly, the extremely talented and passionate people that Juweon had the opportunity to work with all inspired him to take on a new challenge, which came to fruition in the form of Vatos Urban Tacos.

Juweon Jonathan Kim

Owner/Co-founder
sid-kim-1

Sid’s first job at the age of 14 was at a Mexican restaurant in Ventura, California, so it’s fitting that he has come back full circle to the Mexican food scene. Born in Korea and raised in sunny Southern California, Sid brings more than 15 years of Korean business know-how and almost 10 years of food and beverage experience to Vatos. Sid first arrived back in Korea as a Fulbright Scholar and chose to reside permanently in his motherland after completing his graduate studies. Sid is a proud alumnus of UC Berkeley and consumes large amounts of Vatos fare on a daily basis – all in the name of quality control, of course.

Sid Kim

Owner/Co-founder
kenny-park-1

Working in two prominent start-up restaurants while attending school in Boston may have shaped his future as a restaurateur, but Kenny’s love for food started at a very young age in California, where he was born and raised. This can be attributed to his mother's excellent cooking and his father's intrigue for some of the more uncommon cuisines. Good Mexican food were a staple of his childhood, but it was something Kenny missed the most since moving to Korea in 2009. This void drove him to start a Kickstarter project in 2010 to raise funds for what would be Vatos Urban Tacos. Kenny’s focus for Vatos remains simple—to provide all patrons with the ultimate dining experience.

Kenny Park

Owner/Co-founder