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Been Waiting for a Reason to Check Out Kim’s? The New Happy Hour Is It.

A filling early dinner for two at one of the buzziest restaurants in town can be yours for just 50 bucks.

Em Cassel

The menu for the recently launched happy hour at Kim’s encourages you to “leave your ‘han’ at the door,” referring to the uniquely Korean concept of fundamental sadness. Sometimes translated as “resentful sorrow,” there’s no English equivalent for han, though linguists have offered suggestions: spite, rancor, regret, resentment, grief.

Could $9 sandwiches and discounted drinks really eliminate, even for an hour, such a complex cocktail of negative feelings? Maybe it was unseasonably warm February weather, or the sun-drenched bar area brimming with guests early on a Monday evening in Minneapolis, but… I’m leaning toward yes. 

Ann Kim’s latest restaurant has been open since November, when the Uptown space at 1432 W. 31st St. flipped from Sooki & Mimi to a new iteration offering Korean-American comfort food. The newish happy hour menu features a few of the snackier staples you’ll find on the dinner menu—two sandwiches, wings, a vegetable pancake—plus a selection of $8 wine pours and cocktails and $4 tap beers and an NA ferment.

Em Cassel

On the Ann's Ham 'n' Cheese sandwich, a stout square of housemade Spam sits inside a hotteok bun, dripping in American cheese. From the first bite, it evokes an Egg McMuffin in the best possible way, as if you cranked the savory knob up to 11 and added a snap of pickles and the addictive qualities of Kewpie mayo. It also makes the best case for good old-fashioned yellow mustard I’ve seen outside of an East Coast hoagie shop.

Me, personally? If I worked for Hormel, I would have kept my mouth shut when Kim’s opened in November and quietly let ‘em keep using the Spam name. There could be no better marketing for your product than to have people think that was your canned ham product on this god-tier sandwich.

The Kim Burger simply rocks: smashed patty, American cheese, gooey onion jam, pickles. And it makes a strong case for serving more sandwiches on hotteok buns—the griddled, yeasty, English muffin-esque vessels store up all the greasy magic of their contained proteins.

At happy hour, both sandwiches are available for just $9—a discount from $12 at dinner—and arrive with a generous helping of Kim’s “Shin Ramyun” fries (themselves $8 on the full-price menu), which are thickly coated in a red-and-green seasoning that evokes the iconic instant ramen brand. They’re crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside, with just a teeny, teeny, teeny bit of heat—the kind that threatens to build but never quite does, so you can keep shoveling ‘em in your mouth with abandon. 

Left: Kim's daquiri and Poppin' Pear ferment; right: Kim's alley-side mural, by artist Julia ChonEm Cassel

Because, what the heck, we were getting a deal, we also snacked on the $9 vegetable pancake, a savory/salty/crispy/squishy delight served with a side of soy pickled jalapeño and onion that might have been my single favorite flavor of the afternoon. I should have asked for a plastic ramekin to go; I wanna marinate stuff in that soy sauce. And while the $8 daiquiri is classically perfect, on a return trip I might go ahead and order the $4 pear ferment, a super-sweet alcohol-free drink that packs a cinnamony little punch.

Leaving your han at the door? It couldn’t be easier. The vibes are immaculate, the service top-notch, and two adults were able to share three hearty dishes, along with a cocktail and a mocktail, and be out of there for just 51 bucks, including the automatically applied 21% service charge. 

Kim’s
Address: 1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 4-10 p.m.
Happy hour: Available Sunday-Thursday from 4-5:30 p.m. in the bar

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