SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) – The owners of Cafe Lucy, a Korean restaurant that served many of the surrounding businesses before the pandemic, turned to Instagram when they launched Sonsoo Kitchen, a successful gourmet food delivery service.
Like so many other local restauranteurs, Lucy Row and her sister, Lauren Row, who have operated Cafe Lucy for 15 years, had to close their doors during the pandemic.
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“We could’ve opened the business,” Lauren told CBSLA’s Hermela Aregawi, “but we figured it wouldn’t generate that much business.”
Both sisters have kids and said that it would’ve been cost prohibitive to send their children to daycare during the pandemic.
Lucy said that she was encouraged by friends who love her food to open a business on Instagram. That’s exactly what she and her husband, Ryan Lee, who was working as a chef at a Japanese restaurant, did when they opened Sonsoo Kitchen, a gourmet, ready to eat, Korean seafood delivery service.
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Sonsoo started with one menu item, the marinated salmon. They have since expanded the menu.
“Customers favorite dishes are soy marinated salmon, soy marinated crab and spicy crab,” Lucy said. “Our dishes are popular and known to the Korean community, but not so much outsiders. Most of the people known Korean barbecue and bibimbap, but this is really a rare item. So, i want more exposure and I’m happy people enjoy our food.”
The sisters say that an Instagram based business allows them flexibility with their schedules, but it’s also had challenges.
“There are a lot of ups and downs because we are not really a techy person. So, to learn how to set up the order, how to interact with our customers, that was a bit tough,” Lucy admitted.
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While Sonsoo Kitchen is doing well and they hope to someday open a sit-down restaurant with an even larger menu, the family says they miss seeing their customers in person and want to eventually reopen Cafe Lucy.