By Miranda Jackson
For The Diamondback
Seoulspice, a fast-casual Korean restaurant, will open later this year within the Terrapin Row apartment complex.
The restaurant will fill the 2,000-square-foot space located next to the Amazon store, which opened below Building A in February. College Park will be the restaurant's second location after the franchise opened its flagship in Northeast Washington, D.C., in February 2016.
The restaurant blends traditional Korean recipes with a modern, build-your-own approach. The gluten-free and vegan-friendly menu was made popular by its "korrito," or Korean burrito, although customers can also choose to create their own bibimbap-styled rice bowls, "street tacos" or salads.
Banchan-influenced sides are also available, such as Korean radishes, cucumbers, bean sprouts and vegan kimchi.
Restaurant owner Eric Shin said he created the concept as a "passion project." Shin is also an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland's music department.
"I hear from my students all the time … that there aren't very many options for food [in College Park]," Shin said.
Matthew Herenstein, the chief operating officer of Orlo Fund, which owns Terrapin Row's retail space, helped choose Seoulspice as the complex's first restaurant.
"We thought it would be a great concept for a student body, and that it's going to be very attractive to the College Park community," Herenstein said. "It meets perfectly the demands for good, casual, quick dining."
Seoulspice is a big step from the typical fast food chains often seen in College Park, Shin said, offering the diversity his students have been asking for.
Sameera Polavarapu, a sophomore international business and marketing major and resident of Terrapin Row, is eager to see something besides a pizza restaurant come to College Park.
"Since the area is in such a prime location it's a welcome change not to have just another chain restaurant," Polavarapu said. "I think the concept is really unique and I'm excited to try it out."
The new location will also feature interior artwork from Peter Chang, who graduated from this university, and painted murals on the walls of the restaurant's D.C. location.
The restaurant's location is also a perk for students, as sophomore Shawn Baek, a civil engineering major and Terrapin Row resident, said he's traveled to Beltsville for quality Korean food.
"I hope this place becomes a really huge sensation," Baek said. "It's about time a Korean place came close to the campus."