FALL RIVER — You’ve seen it all over your social media. It’s gone viral on TikTok. Now you can get a taste of this foodie trend right here in the city.
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Fall River’s melting pot of cuisines from across the globe continues to grow with the addition of Chicken Story, a takeout restaurant that specializes in Korean street food.
Owner Jaewoo Choi is riding the wave of popularity Korean food has experienced in recent years at his 111 Stafford Road location that opened this past spring, drawing folks in with its made-for-Instagram culinary creations.
“Korean fried chicken is Korea’s soul food,” Choi said. “Since K-food is getting more popular, I wish one day I would be able to introduce Korean food to locals.”
The space is small and unassuming, yet certainly stands out. Passersby are drawn to Chicken Story’s bright yellow facade, which matches the colorful cuisine being cooked up inside.
Highlights include their eye-catching best-seller, the Korean corn dog, as well as boba “bubble” tea and Korean fried chicken.
Jaewoo Choi’s story starts in Providence
Fall River’s Chicken Story is the latest chapter of 30-year-old Choi’s journey in the restaurant business.
Choi is a Korean native who moved to the United States in 2012 at age 19, and ever since has been expanding his culinary background and knowledge. Upon graduating from Johnson and Wales University in Providence in 2016, where he studied Culinary Arts and Nutrition, he did a two-year stint in New York to experience and learn from its diverse food scene.
“You can easily find new ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’ restaurants in Manhattan. Maybe you can see them in every single block. If someone wants to open a ‘trendy’ restaurant, they are willing to open in the city because there are more resources,” Choi said.
That drew him back to Rhode Island, where he really hit the ground running.
In 2018, Choi opened his first restaurant in Providence, O’Boy, which he described as a modern Asian fusion restaurant and wine and cocktail bar.
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These days, in addition to the Chicken Story, Choi also splits his time between his two other Providence restaurants — Wok & Pot, which debuted on Westminster Street in 2020 and features authentic Korean and Chinese cuisine, and PVD Noodle Bar on Mathewson Street, which opened this past May.
The wheels actually got turning on Chicken Story before the Noodle Bar’s debut, but Choi said the long-vacant Fall River space — formerly a barber shop — required extensive renovations that led to a delay in opening.
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Chicken Story’s Fall River location welcomed its first customers on May 27, and a New Bedford location on County Street opened soon after in September.
Bringing a ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’ menu to Fall River restaurant scene
With his latest Chicken Story project Choi hopes to diversify the culinary landscape in Fall River and make these unique foodie finds more accessible to folks outside big cities like Providence.
“Every single person deserves to have the experience of ‘trendy’ and ‘cool’ restaurants and food nearby,” he said. “I have noticed that there is quite a big population in the Fall River area but nothing like a trend. Therefore, I chose to open the first Korean Fried Chicken restaurant in Fall River. It is a great opportunity for ourselves as well as locals.”
Korean corn dogs, bubble tea and more on the menu
For the uninitiated, a Korean corn dog is essentially a souped-up version of a traditional corn dog, but covered in interesting, out-of-the-box crusts — from hot Cheetos to bread crumbs to cubed potatoes.
The dish starts with a skewered hot dog dipped in a thick batter that is fried, but you can also get mozzarella cheese or half hot dog, half cheese inside. According to Choi, their top seller is the half-and-half with french fry crust.
Other popular Chicken Story menu items include their Korean fried chicken — wings and sandwiches (the secret is in their tasty sauces, Choi said) — as well as their wide variety of boba teas, which Choi noted is originally from Taiwan but is embraced by Korean culture as well. Sides include dumplings, kimchi fries, honey garlic cheese fries and more.
According to Choi, they are mixing things up on their menu every month. Their current special is potato twists, but they have also featured a chicken teriyaki sandwich, different boba flavors and corn dog toppings.
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And it seems the community is really embracing the culinary variety Chicken Story offers.
“We got more love than we expected, it’s kind of overwhelming,” said Choi, noting their customer base is growing and slowly gaining regulars.
Choi said he sees a mix of two types of customers — those who are familiar with Korean cuisine and seek it out and those who don’t really know what they are about but are excited to explore the unique menu.
He’s also seeing crossover with familiar Providence patrons popping up in their SouthCoast Chicken Story spots.
Taiyaki shop coming soon with the viral fish ice cream
Choi is hopping on another foodie trend that’s gone viral with the addition of yet another shop right next door to Chicken Story.
“Fish ice cream” isn’t something that sounds very appetizing. But this treat, which you’ve likely been introduced to via drool-worthy Instagram posts, is not what it seems.
Choi’s upcoming Stafford Road dessert stop will be serving up Taiyaki, a popular Japanese street food that’s basically a baked cake, shaped like a fish, with ice cream filling.
Plans are still in the works for that venture, but Choi said he hopes to open it by next summer.
Chicken Story looking to expand
Even though he has a lot under his belt, Choi said he is always looking for new projects. As more and more people familiarize themselves with Chicken Story’s unique flavors, Choi hopes to expand the brand to more locations in the future.
Fall River’s Chicken Story is solely a takeout operation. However, there is some limited seating inside its New Bedford site.
Both Chicken Story locations are open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, check out Chicken Story’s Facebook page.