John Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea and came to the USA with his mother, Sang Mi when he was 7 years old. During his college years, John worked at various restaurants in different roles where he learned about the hospitality business.
John and his wife, Tram Lee went back to South Korea in 2013 where they settled and traveled throughout Asia for 5 years. During that time, they developed a knowledge of Korean culture, taste, and traditions. John has hiked all the national parks and has tasted over 275 regional makgeolli (Korean rice wine) during his time in South Korea. John and Tram also spent 5 months backpacking Southeast Asia where they’ve experienced different cuisines and cultures.
John and his wife moved back home to Austin and joined his mother’s restaurant in June 2018. With their marketing skills and passion to serve authentic yasik (Korean drinking food), they were able to turn his mother’s business around.
John has the ambition to share his knowledge about Korean drinking culture with the Austin community, hence he rebranded the restaurant to Seoulju Korean Kitchen and Bar, a play on word that sounds like soju (Korean liquor). John is always experimenting with different recipes using soju. Seoulju Korean Kitchen and Bar is the only Korean bar in Austin with the widest selection of soju brands and flavors, including infused soju made by John.