Lakeview Korean-Mexican-American restaurant serves it fast

2 Lakeview Korean Mexican American restaurant serves it fastWhile traveling across the country and eating at multiple fried chicken places, financial analysts Doug Funke and Jae Lee realized they were sick of working the daily grind and dealing with numbers all day. With their love of chicken, they decided to create an untraditional Korean restaurant with a fusion of Mexican and American cuisine.

Their brainchild became Crisp, a contemporary fast-food restaurant with a traditional twist on Korean chicken and other dishes, located at 2940 N. Broadway. Funke and Lee, busy working with other businesses, recruited a customer, Jon Pazona, to become the engine of the restaurant.

“I was a customer here, ate a bunch of wings one day and came back the next day, and then one week later, they offered me a job, said Pazona, owner of Crisp. I’ve been with them ever since.

Pazona, whose Italian family owned several different restaurants across New York and New Jersey, had been in the restaurant business since he was 15. He said he tries to run the business as a fast-food joint and not like a traditional sit down place like many other Korean food establishments.

“For the restaurant, we were trying to do everything you would never find in a Korean Restaurant, which is bright walls, loud music, bright lights and non-Korean employees,” said Pazona. “That is definitely something people are a little weirded out by. Especially Korean customers, when they see me behind the counter and I tell them ‘How are you doing? Welcome to my restaurant.’”

Crisp breaks all the rules of a traditional Korean restaurant by playing pop music, such as Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend” to the vivid green walls decorated with food reviews and then the few large benches that force people to sit together. Pazona said this is very common in Korea.

“We were supposed to force camaraderie and talking about food and sort of intermingling with people that you don’t know,” said Pazona.

Customer Chris Choukalas has been to Crisp quite a few times when he’s in Chicago. He flew from San Francisco to visit his friends and to stop by his favorite restaurant.

“I come here from the Asian food capital of the world outside of Asia to have Asian food in Chicago, in the Midwest with all these good people, it’s worth it,” said Choukalas. “I think ethnic food tends to be a little healthier…. I would add having had Korean non-fusion food, this is tastier– and your clothes don’t smell as terrible after you eat.”

Rogers Park resident Kenny Banya, who came with Choukalas and a group of friends decided to eat at Crisp because the food is served quickly, and it’s something different than your usual American.

“I love fusion cooking. In fact on the way here we were talking about fusion cooking and how it’s difficult not to have fusion cooking anymore, everything is fused,” said Banya. “In a place like Chicago you can turn left and right and find everything from Asian to Austrian, and it’s awesome!”

The menus most popular dishes are the Korean fried Chicken and the Buddha Bowls, which is an adaptation of a semi-traditional dish called Bi Bim Bop. Its hot rice with cold vegetables with the choice of hot beef, chicken or tofu on the top.

The Korean Burritos range from Vegas Vegetarian to Seoul Sensation, and can be filled with rice, romaine lettuce, corn, carrots, tomatoes, onions and homemade Korean beef, Bulgogi, all wrapped in a flour tortilla.

They [Funke and Lee] were trying create the most untraditional items they could possibly come up with, Pazona said. They were really playing upon the diversity that can be Korean food. Burritos were most popular, so we just included Asian style sauces on a basic chicken sandwich. It comes up with pretty great results.

Allan Lee, a student from Korea, finds Crisp to be very close to real Korean food despite the french fries and burrito fusion. He says their fried chicken is very close to the fried chicken they have in Korea.

“If I wanted real Korean food I would have to go to the suburbs, and it’s expensive, but this is close and has Korean taste and it’s kind of fun to go to,” said Lee.

Crisp opened in January of 2008 and Pazona has been the owner since that October. He said in the last couple of months ethnic restaurants have been opening up, such as a Sushi Bar and Middle Eastern place, but Pazona said there is no other like Crisp and really loves his job.

“This is my life, I do nothing else but work at Crisp,” said Pazona. “We have 11-year-old kids who come here after school to 75-year-old Korean couples whose kids love it here so they come. Im very prideful and I enjoy it when they give us their honesty opinions and love our food. I want repeat customers and want you guys to come back once or twice a week. This is my home base.

For more information on Crisp, visit their website at

Duration : 0:2:39

Technorati Tags: 031910, Chronicle, CrispVideo


  1. Elove082020 says:

    Cook all your …
    Cook all your favorite restaurant meals right from home! –

  2. Elove082020 says:

    Cook all your …
    Cook all your favorite restaurant meals right from home! –

  3. BedwithTed says:

    The fried egg on …
    The fried egg on top reminds me of Peruvian food. Peruvian food is in fact the most underrated best cuisine in the world.

    I use it when I plan events. It sets me apart of the crowd.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply