Tofu Hut, a well-known Lacey restaurant that was temporarily closed for about three months, will be back in business Friday with two familiar faces: Sunny Kim and her daughter, Soo.
This time, however, their roles are reversed. In 2009, when Soo first opened the business, she received help from her mother, Sunny. Now, Sunny will be running the business with assistance from Soo. Either way, it’s a homecoming for the two.
“It will be fun to get back into the kitchen,” said Soo, who launched the business when she was 24.
The Kims sold the business in 2015 on a lease-to-own basis, but the new owners eventually closed the restaurant in August. The Kims returned to clean, remodel and repaint, choosing a darker interior color that has given the space a homey, cozy feel.
During that remodeling process, former customers repeatedly stopped by to inquire about the status of the business, including a woman who now lives in Port Townsend, said Sunny. The woman simply asked: Same food? She got the answer she wanted to hear, Sunny said.
Tofu Hut offers Asian fusion, a mix of dishes from the region. Soo said the menu is 30 percent Korean, but also has Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes. The menu is largely the same as before, with an emphasis on food that can be enjoyed by everyone, including those who seek vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals, Soo said. There also are meat and fish dishes.
“We want everyone to be happy,” she said.
Among the dishes at Tofu Hut:
▪ Viet garden bowl: A rice vermicelli noodle salad with lettuce, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro, served with sweet and sour dressing, and topped with stir fried vegetables and fresh ground peanuts.
▪ V-8 delights: Deep-fried tofu, stir-fried with broccoli, onions, carrots, celery, cabbage, red bell pepper, zucchini, mushrooms and bean sprouts, with a light sauce and served over rice.
▪ Pusan fishery udon: Fiery wok-sauteed udon noodles, with seafood, broccoli, onions, carrots, cabbage, green onions and mushrooms in a special hot sauce.
The business has applied for a liquor license, but they haven’t secured it yet. Soo expects the license in mid-December.
Soo and Sunny have plenty of restaurant experience — Sunny opened one of the first sushi restaurants in the area — but they’re hoping that Sunny’s son, James, will be able to take over one day. He has expressed interest in waiting tables, but Sunny and Soo want him to learn every position in the restaurant before he advances to waiter and then owner. That means he will probably begin by washing dishes, they said.
The Kims did have one request: They have a brand new staff, so they are asking customers to be patient until everyone gets up to speed.
- Owners: Sunny and Soo Kim
- Location: 4804 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey. The Kims like the location because Saint Martin’s University is nearby and has a large international student population.
- Years in business: The Kims opened the business in 2009, sold it in 2015, and are now running it again.
- Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
- Online: Find Tofu Hut on Facebook.
- Did you know? One reason Soo is only helping out with the restaurant this time around is because she is busy studying to become a nurse. She wants to be a traveling nurse, which would allow her to work on a contract basis with hospitals. She has traveled to every continent, except for Antarctica, but she wants to travel there, too.