All-you-can-eat Korean BBQ opens in College Park with a big-time chef ghosting in the back

Meat Up Korean BBQ
The all-you-can-eat Meat Up Korean BBQ, located in College Park, Maryland, features a menu that includes pork cheek, beef tongue, Galbi, and Angus steak. (Courtesy Meat Up Korean BBQ)

A newly-rebranded all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint is now headed by the owner of a popular Taiwanese restaurant in D.C., and there will soon be a prominent area chef tagging along in the kitchen.

Meat Up Korean BBQ opened last Friday in College Park, Maryland. Lawrence Chen, owner of Momo’s Cafe on MacArthur Boulevard in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood, is in charge.

Chen took over the all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant, Kangnam BBQ, in May and rebranded it this month as Meat Up. One of Kangnam’s shareholders was the renowned Peter Chang, the Chinese chef with restaurants in Arlington, Rockville, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Short Pump, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg.

Chen has teamed up with Chang, who will launch a ghost kitchen inside the restaurant early next year, though the pair provided no other details on the partnership.

Meat Up focuses on traditional Korean BBQ, with a menu that includes pork cheek, beef tongue, Galbi, and Angus steak. There is a salad bar and a sauce bar. The restaurant also serves traditional Korean dishes, ramen, stews and bento boxes.

Chen plans to add a dim sum bar next year as well.

Chen moved from Los Angeles to D.C. seven years ago. He graduated from the University of California Riverside with a degree in chemistry. After working at a Ten Ren’s Tea room, he noticed the correlation between working in a laboratory and a kitchen, with both involving precision, creativity and protocols.

He saw a shortage of Asian dining in the D.C. area, and opened Momo’s Cafe as a welcoming space for international students in the area.

Meat Up’s all-you-can-eat menu in College Park is $19.99 for weekday lunch and $29.99 for dinner. There’s also a weekend all-day menu. Like most all-you-can-eat restaurants, there are restrictions, such as a maximum dining time of two hours, and a surcharge imposed for excessive waste.

Check out the menu below:

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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