Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago’s annual Milestone Awards Benefit is coming up on April 27! In the weeks leading up to the event, we are recognizing this year’s honorees who have led the way for the Asian American community of Illinois in their respective fields. This week, we shine the spotlight on the Yunjin Hong, owner of Jin Ju restaurant in Andersonville. Join us on April 27 to honor Yunjin at Milestone! Get your tickets today!
Yunjin Hong has been a business-owner in the Andersonville neighborhood for over 15 years and active in the Chamber of Commerce and other civic associations. His work on promoting accessible and highly reviewed Korean cuisine is coupled with his passion for inclusive and diverse community development. He and his wife are long-time residents of the Edgewater neighborhood with three children who attend Chicago Public Schools. Our Milestone celebrates and acknowledges Yunjin’s entrepreneurship and engagement.
In partnership with his brother-in-law, they had a vision to bring Korean food out of the “mom and pop” phase in Chicago and to open a place that served traditional Korean tastes in a contemporary atmosphere. Growing up in Korea, Yunjin always had a passion for food and loved going to the outdoor markets each morning with his mother. His mother made everything from scratch and these home cooked meals were entwined with nurturing and love in his family. He wanted to share this love of food with others in a place that felt comfortable to Koreans and non-Koreans alike.
Featured on WTTW’s Check Please!, with features in Chicago Magazine and other review sites, Jin Ju Restaurant is poised with expansion plans into the West Loop to introduce more Chicagoans to an authentic Korean food experience grounded in the owner’s memories of home.
Yunjin Hong was born in Seoul, South Korea where he lived until the age of 24. He came to the United States in 1995 to study architecture at Washington University in St Louis. In 1999, he married his wife and his life course took a turn. She had been working in NYC at the time and there, Korean food was the hottest new trend and this inspired an idea. After marrying, they moved to Chicago and Yunjin started on his restaurant path.