ITHACA, NY — With the start of the fall semester, Ithaca College will debut a new dining option: Chick-N-Bap, a street-casual concept that sells Korean-inspired New York City street food.
After a late-night out in 2013, then-SUNY Binghamton undergrad and founder of Chick-N-Bap Sung Kim was craving a taste of home — the chicken and rice plates found on countless NYC street corners, made famous by The Halal Guys.
He improvised his own take on the classic in his tiny kitchen and impressed his friends so much that he eventually pitched the concept to the university dining marketplace when he graduated in 2014. “What started out as a drunk idea when I was a senior is now operating in two university campuses (SUNY Binghamton and SUNY New Paltz),” Kim said, “and we are thrilled to say that we will be launching at Ithaca College this fall!”
You can actually get your chicken and rice fix before Ithaca College classes officially start. Chick-N-Bap will have a soft-opening through Aug. 27 in the food court at IC Square and will have their grand opening with a ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m. Aug. 28.
Chick-N-Bap’s menu is a fusion of what Kim liked to eat at home, and what he ate when he hung out with friends in the city.
“I’m an Asian American immigrant who always felt like he was living a double life, especially when I was eating Korean food at home while I was eating cheap street food when I was out. I wanted to combine both of my “homes” into a single concept,” Kim said.
Diners can look forward to traditional chicken and gyro combination platters served on yellow, brown or basmati rice, as a “baprrito”, or as a lettuce bowl. But what makes Chick-N-Bap unique is the addition of Korean heritage flavors: Korean BBQ chicken marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic and onion, and spicy Korean chicken, with gochujang, sesame seed oil and garlic, and the vegetarian/vegan option of Korean hummus.
“The reason why I started it as a student was I hated how expensive the food is at college, I’d run out of meal plan dollars at the end of a semester,” Kim said, so it was important that all of the sauces and regular toppings (tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumber and bap-corn, made with cilantro lime and mayo) are all included.
To round out the plate, Chick-N-Bap offers white sauce, a house secret, and BBQ sauce, along with a choice of three levels of hot sauce (Kim’s favorite is the green, made with cilantro, jalapenos and garlic). Depending on ingredients and extras, a typical plate will run $7.50 – $8.
Chick-N-Bap accepts Bomber Bucks, cash and credit cards, and is open at the following hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in IC Square in Campus Center.