Austin restaurant owner appears on 'Shark Tank'

Chi'Lantro founder goes into the Shark Tank

AUSTIN - There's just something special about a man in the kitchen, especially when the man is Jae Kim. He spends his days whipping up dishes of Korean-Mexican fusion that keep his customers coming back for more.

"Lots of texture in the food and you know, flavor. It's, it's very good," said John McLeod, who was eating in the restaurant on Burnet Road with his family Friday afternoon.

"You wouldn't think Kimchi goes well with fries," added Lee Chu who was there with co-workers, "but it does."

They go together so well in fact that they're what Chi'Lantro is best known for. The combination, now copied by many, was originated by Kim unintentionally.

"I was so frustrated because I was throwing away kimchi, which is still homemade, we home make it. It takes a lot of time and process to make kimchi, and fries. I was just throwing away just food," said Kim.

This was happening at a time when he couldn't afford to throw away anything. It was February 2010. Kim had maxed out his credit card and emptied his savings account to open a food truck and made a whopping $7 the first day.

"So I just put everything that I had on the truck and started serving it and the people that had no idea like what to get and I would recommend the kimchi fries and I charged the most," laughed Kim. "It kind of ended up working pretty well for us."

Four food trucks and four restaurants later, Kim is looking to expand, so he's going into the Shark Tank.

"I envision Chi'Lantro empire," Kim says the sharks. "I'm seeking $600,000 for 15 percent of my business."

Getting onto the show took a few tries for Kim.

"Four years ago, I tried with one food truck. Any luck? Nope," he told the sharks. "Two years after, I tried again with five food trucks this time. Any love? Nope, no love."

So did Kim get the deal he was looking for?

He was able to negotiate with Barbara Corcoran for a deal on Shark Tank. 

(© 2016 KVUE)


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