Popular Santa Clara restaurant to close – NBC Bay Area


After 17 years, the owner of Mongolian barbecue El Camino in Santa Clara announces that he is closing his popular restaurant.

Dozens of people lined up for one last taste of the Mongolian barbecue on Sunday and to say goodbye to owner John Seo, the man who made the little restaurant a cult place.

The crowds came from different parts of the Bay Area.

Sandra Chow told NBC Bay Area she drove to Daly City to eat out once again.

“There is that warm vibe and my kids love to eat here, but we will really miss the owners,” she said.

Seo, who was a South Korean engineer, said he knew nothing about the restaurant business when he took over 17 years ago.

The restaurant has been around since 1993 and Seo is the third person to own it. Seo posted a photo of his first clients and quickly developed a dedicated follow-up not only with adults but also with children.

Asa Aceves, 10, said he learned to love vegetables after coming to a restaurant.

“I’m not good with veg but this place is so good,” he said.

The pandemic changed everything, forcing the restaurant to close for almost a year, and when it reopened, business was down 30%.

“Labor costs have increased and the purchase price has increased. I couldn’t increase the price of my food, ”Seo said.

Seo and his wife Sunny decided to close the restaurant on December 15 because he said he didn’t have a green card. He added that he will have to leave the country.

After the restaurant closes, Seo, 67, plans to return to South Korea and volunteer there. But he hopes someone will continue the restaurant’s legacy by picking up their recipes and keeping the doors open.

“I am so sorry that I cannot survive. I will miss the restaurant and the customers, ”he said.


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