How Immigration Shapes People and Communities:Simple.
No nonsense. Just good food. Korean food. American food.
Every day, the cuisine is a fusion in one delightful way. This method is Debbie's way. Six thousand five hundred miles away is where her family is from, where THE cuisine was born.
When Debbie Kim turned twenty-one, she invested her family's future in the City of Fountains.
"It has always been In & Out."
Starting in 2005, 'In & Out' was originally a convenience store catering to many commuters and downtown businesses. At the corner of Tenth and Main Street in downtown Kansas City, Debbie works her magic.
Her family's story originates from the Far East. "My parents are from Seoul, South Korea," said Kim. After moving from Korea to New York, Debbie and her family saw an opportunity in the Midwest.
"I'm originally from Staten Island, New York," said Kim proudly.
The move from New York to Kansas City created an opportunity for Kim to establish the original name, 'In & Out.' Eventually, Kim settled on a location.
Then they found an advantageous street corner in downtown Kansas City.
"This bodega right here," said Kim, overjoyed.
Tenth and Main.
"People come here because it's fresh, not because it's frozen," proudly said, Kim.
'Delighting Downtown Kansas City taste buds for over a decade.'
Debbie's Kitchen combines traditional Korean dishes and classic American fare to early morning risers and commuters. From 830am to 4 pm.
"I offer unique flavors seasonally."
The origin of Debbie's Korean culinary dishes has gone through many centuries of evolution. Korean cuisine is based on three pillars of food, rice, vegetables, and meat. "The foods aren't deep-fried. They are a clean palette," said Kim. For example, fermented kimchi provides a healthy and nutritious taste that attracts many food lovers. The process for the creation of Korean food involves Fermentation, 'Fermentation is a metabolic process that produces chemical changes in organic substrates through the action of enzymes. In biochemistry, it is narrowly defined as the extraction of energy from carbohydrates in the absence of oxygen,' according to Wikipedia. Before eating each meal, customary Koreans say the phrase, 'Jal meokkessumnida.' Which translates to 'It will eat well.'
Debbie has been promoting a healthier brand in KC for over a decade.
"I didn't think Kansas City was ready for Korean food. Now I'm like, here it is, in your face!"
Running a full Korean kitchen, however, is costly.
"It's very pricey because it takes a lot of handworks," said Kim.
When asked what else specifically Debbie's Kitchen brings to Kansas City?
One word, "Bodega."
"In New York, when you say bodega, it's a small shop that sells small deli sandwiches hot off the grill," said Kim.
I am building a brilliantly unique and tasty brand.
"It's like a deli. It's a one-stop type of place. You go in, and you get your food, your milk. You get your snacks, whatever you need," said Kim.
One huge demand is her energetic sandwiches.
Suppose you are in love with a BLT with mayo that's warm and melts in your mouth. Or, for tuna lovers, a delightful tuna melt on white or wheat bread.
"My regular customers just want their sandwiches," exclaimed Kim.
But because of the pandemic, not all of Debbie's amenities are available.
"Unfortunately, we can't run the hot bar right now," said Kim.
The bus stop.
Across from Debbie's Kitchen is a bus stop that has been there for decades.
A station that is now moving.
"I do cook for a ton of the bus drivers. That recommends me to whoever is on their bus. That causes foot traffic. That's going to stop soon," said Kim.
However, since the beginning of the lockdown, Debbie launched an affordable, quick way to enjoy her cuisine.
The DoorDash app
Since the app launch for her Kitchen, Debbie hasn't seen the increase she had hoped for.
"There hasn't been a bigger difference with the app," said Kim.
But, with the launch of Debbie's Kitchen in the fall of 2019, Debbie sees the potential for the brand, despite the impact the pandemic has had on business.
"I didn't know how people were going to interpret the logo," laughed Kim.
So far, it has helped advertise the palatable culinary ingredient of her food and the richness of her personality.
A part of that personality involves comfort.
As a mom, Debbie wants people to walk in like their walking into their own home.
"I don't want you to feel stuffy. I want you to feel relaxed. If you want to curse, you can curse. If you're having a bad day, you're having a bad day."
Debbie's Kitchen provides comfort foods that are prepared in the most robust of ways.
In a kitchen that is unbreakable.
Despite the uncertainty that 2020 has brought, one person who continues to lead a steadying hand is a chef whose masterly talent in the culinary arts combined with her stalwart and flamboyant personality validates her Kitchen. Whenever you do visit Debbie, remember:
"I don't want you to feel stuffy. I want you to feel relaxed!"