BLOOMINGTON — Harmony Korean BBQ, 7 Currency Drive in Bloomington, is this week’s pick for Eats of the Week.
The restaurant will be marking two years in April and is owned by Ken Myszka, founder and “CheFarmer” (a combination of chef and farmer) of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group. He is also the acting executive chef at Harmony.
“Harmony” means grandmother in Korean. Myszka was inspired to open the restaurant after visiting South Korea and learning about his wife Nanam’s heritage. He said he was inspired by the way of dining offered there, one that puts more responsibility on the guest.
“It’s a really fun way to dine. South Korea is like the Midwest of Asia: They love pork belly, mushrooms, wild black raspberries, soybeans,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for the area, the culture and cuisine.”
The building previously served as Tachibana Restaurant, a sushi and grill bar that opened in 1997, and then Hayashi, a Japanese restaurant that opened in 2005 and closed in 2013. The building then sat empty for eight years.
Myszka said he bought the facility about five years ago. He completely remodeled it and installed a hood system for the Harmony grills.
“I think what makes Harmony unique is our authenticity. We provide an authentic version, modern take on Korean BBQ,” Myszka said. “This place is like Korea; we bought everything from K-town in LA. It’s a really cool take and nothing like our other restaurants. It’s special.”
Myszka added that they often consult Nanam’s grandmother about the restaurant as well.
Popular menu items include the Wagyu, potstickers, wings and the Harmony Combo, which is offered as a special Tuesday through Thursday. The combos come with unlimited refills as well.
Harmony offers a variety of meat including pork belly, chuck flap, Kobe beef as well as ramen, broths, and bop, which means “steamed rice” or “your meal” in Korean. Myszka describes the menu as Korean cuisine with Midwest style.
Harmony has a separate menu called “Shabu Shabu,” a carryout/takeout menu that offers a variety of noodles/ramen for a quick lunch stop. Guests can order from both menus while at Harmony. Harmony also has a sushi bar.
Intimidated by an unfamiliar setup? Don’t worry. For first-timers at Harmony, servers will take care of the cooking, but more seasoned diners are able to cook their own food.
“My favorite thing about Harmony is sharing this style of restaurant with my hometown community,” Myszka said. “Who else would do this if not us? How long would we have to wait?”
In addition to indoor dining and takeout, Harmony offers private dining rooms, large banquet rooms for events, and karaoke rooms. Each table and room has a call button in case a customer needs service.
All of the proteins and vegetables come from the Epiphany Farms Estate; food waste returns to the farm for composting and use as fertilizer.
“This is a dream come true; it’s a really fun, exciting and enjoyable dining experience for customers, it’s a performance,” Myszka said. “It’s new, creative, healthier and familiar in a way. Customers trust an establishment like Epiphany as we are focused on hospitality. There’s a sense of comfort in our dining room.”
Myszka added that the success of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group is no accident as they have a great team that works very hard. He said they are very fortunate and lucky.
Editor’s note: In the coming months, Eats of the Week will showcase other restaurants of Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group, including Epiphany Farms, Anju Above and Bakery & Pickle.
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Contact Olivia Jacobs at 309-820-3352. Follow Olivia on Twitter: @olivia___jacobs