By Kristin Boza
Mature trees, delicious food, close-knit community — those were only some of the must-haves on the list when new neighbors Won Kim and Kendall Hugel were house hunting last year.
The couple moved to Beverly/Morgan Park in October from a condo just east of Wrigley Field in Lakeview. Both Kim and Hugel have ties to the community and were familiar with the area before deciding to make it their home.
“Kendall had family in Beverly and I had friends who grew up in the area,” Kim said. “I would make the trek from the North Side via public transportation to hang out with friends and grab a hoagie from Mr. Submarine every once in a while.”
Even though there was a global pandemic, the pair realized it was time to let go of condo life and purchase a home. “We wanted to live in a neighborhood that had a strong community feel but still be in the city. We loved how unique the homes are and Kendall loved all of the mature trees!” Kim said.
Shortly after moving to Beverly/Morgan Park, Kim utilized his talents as a chef and restauranteur to get to know the community and offer himself as a resource through his restaurants, mural painting, and DJing. He operates two restaurants in Bridgeport: Kimski, a Korean and Asian-fusion restaurant, and Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream, a restaurant pairing Chicago tavern-style pizza by Eat Free Pizza, fried chicken by Kimski, and ice cream pops by Pretty Cool Ice Cream.
“I set up a couple of Community Soup events, the first benefitting Englewood Montessori School and the second benefitting Sutherland Elementary School,” Kim said. “We also set up a food pop-up with Mom’s (a Japanese comfort food restaurant out of Marz Brewery).” The soup events are done out of Two Mile Coffee Shop on 99th and Walden Parkway.
In response to the effects of the pandemic, Kimski was pivoted to a Community Canteen, a pay-what-you-can restaurant that feeds anyone who needs a delicious meal prepared by Kim or his friends from other restaurants. Open Tues. through Sat., 12 to 5 p.m., the Community Canteen concept aims to help those affected by food insecurity. The “pay what you can” model gives each person who pays for a meal the opportunity to “pay it forward” and make even more free food available to others who need it. More information can be found at CommunityKitchenChicago.org.
Hugel has a degree in public health and worked at the National MS Society for many years until she went back to school in 2020 to pursue a nursing degree. As she anticipates graduating this spring, and spends her free time reading, sewing, cuddling with their dog, Gus, and eating burgers from Top Notch.
The couple enjoys getting out as much as possible, and can be found at the 95th Street Farmers Market, Top Notch, Open Outcry, Horse Thief Hollow, Rainbow Cone, Janson’s, Calabria Imports, Swanson’s, Two Mile Coffee, Beverly Dry Goods, and City Grange, “…just to name a few!” Kim said.
“We get along great with our neighbors and love how quiet it is here compared to the rest of the city. The community has welcomed us with open arms,” Kim said. “We love everything about this community and are looking forward to integrating ourselves into the neighborhood!”