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SweetFrog founder brings new concept to Carytown

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Mar 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 17:41:30-04

RICHMOND, Va. — A new Korean barbecue concept, backed by SweetFrog founder Derek Cha, has found its home in Carytown.

Cha and his wife, Annah Cha, plan to open Zzaam Fresh Korean Grill at 3300 W. Cary St. in June. The Chas have a five-year lease on the 2,400-square-foot space that was formerly home to Carytown Cleaners.

The Carytown Zzaam will be the company’s second location. The Chas opened a location in Charlottesville in September and have briefly operated a food truck in Richmond.

Cha said Carytown’s high volume and age-diverse foot traffic made it an attractive place to launch Zzaam in Richmond.

“Carytown always has lots of people walking by,” he said. “It’s close to VCU and close to University of Richmond.”

Cha said he expects it to cost about $500,000 to open the Carytown Zzaam. He and his wife are financing it themselves. Bridge International designed and began building the space in March. Plans include a patio, and the site comes with 12 parking spaces.

Cha said the experience in Charlottesville was a way of testing his new concept. Zzaam’s specialty is its rice bowls, about $8, which come with vegetables, various proteins and Korean barbecue flavors.

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