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    Lee’s Korean Restaurant (1941 Bishop Ln #107) is the first Korean restaurant opened in Louisville. It started as a family business, opened in 1980 by Mr. and Mrs. Yi, and they passed it down to their kids through the years. In 2001, one of the sons sold the restaurant to his sister-in-law’s family, Mr. and Mrs. An, who had recently moved to the U.S. from South Korea. Ever since then, the An family has been running the restaurant, and with the restaurant’s 35th Anniversary coming up this year, they decided it was time for a makeover!

    The An’s good family friend, Kyoungmee Kate Byun, is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at UofL, and she had offered them her services and consultation towards the renovation of the restaurant. She chose the new color scheme for the walls, flooring, and ceiling; the new furniture including the chairs, booths, tables, and countertops; and the new decor consisting of lighting fixtures, wall decorations, and window blinds. Moreover, she redid the entire layout, rearranged several tables, knocked down some walls, installed new walls, and upgraded the kitchen. In order to complete all of these changes, the restaurant was closed for two months over the summer.

    When August rolled around, it was finally reopened as the new and improved Lee’s Korean Restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing that’s noticed is the fresh, modernized atmosphere with appealing photographs hung next to each table and a corner gallery of beautiful paintings by Mizue Sublett (MIZ). The removal of unnecessary walls and the placement of walls to separate the employee area versus the dining area contributes greatly to the improved flow and openness of the establishment. Additionally, the placement of more simple yet attractive lighting fixtures helps to create a lively, pleasant dining experience. Moreover, Lee’s makes a statement with the installation of several designer lights. These are the “Nut Suspension Light” designed by Ray Power (Spain) and manufactured by LZF Lamps. Lee’s is one of two restaurants in Louisville to have this lighting.


    In regards to the menu, they had removed some of the less popular items and added five new dishes for customers to choose from! Their menu is fairly extensive and offers several dishes that are unique to them. Lee’s is known for their soups, and especially their “Sahcheoltang,” a goat meat stew with sesame leaf. Lee’s appeals to a diverse population of diners, and with its newly updated interior and menu, what other reason do you need to give this restaurant a visit!

    Photos by Irena Tran and “Before” Photos Courtesy of Kyoungmee Kate Byun

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    About Irena Tran

    I studied Art at UofL and now physical therapy at Bellarmine University. I love art, sports, and good food. I'm always looking for something new to try and new concepts to photograph!

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