Home Culture Roll + Roll: A Love Letter to Korean Street Food in Jersey City

Roll + Roll: A Love Letter to Korean Street Food in Jersey City

by Chris Goodlof
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With restaurants offering increasing customizability and online ordering, a wide variety of cultural delicacies are made available to a larger population than ever before. Then, it stands to reason that one such restaurant, Roll + Roll in Jersey City, could stand out above the rest, offering nothing short of a love letter to Korean street food and the ability to build one’s order to their own preferences. The result? Magic. Read to learn more about Roll + Roll located at 512 Jersey Avenue in Jersey City.

The Story

roll and roll jersey city

{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

Roll + Roll was hardly owner Jeoung K. Park’s first foray into the restaurant business. After attending college in Seoul, Korea, Park moved to the United States. Park met her husband and started a family, having two children, all while building a career and life for herself – a commendable feat. 

At age 29, Park began managing Semonemo, a West Village restaurant, all the while dreaming of owning her own place. Little did Park know, she’d eventually own three. 

“[I’m] passionate about [my] businesses,” said Park, “working 16 hours a day every day to serve authentic Korean food.”

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{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

Prior to opening Roll + Roll, Park had already opened two Korean restaurants. The first, Seoulites, serving home-style Korean food in Berkeley Heights, and the second, Ahri’s Kitchen, which serves up Korean comfort food in Jersey City. But still, her trifecta of Korean restaurants could not be complete without an homage to one of Park’s favorites: street food.

“Jersey City is a very walkable city,” said Park, “and [I] wanted to offer Korean food which a passerby could pick up while on a stroll, or stop by for a quick bite to eat.”

Located on Jersey Avenue between Christopher Columbus Drive and Wayne Street, Roll + Roll opened for business in November 2020. 

The Menu

roll and roll

{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

Wanting to bring her love of the Korean street food of her youth, Park set about creating a menu that would feature the very cuisine that defined so much of her childhood.

“Roll + Roll is exemplary for its simplicity and efficiency,” said Park. “Roll + Roll also allows patrons to customize their order in the case of dishes like Cup Bap, or rice bowls.”

The eatery offers two types of Korean street food staples. The first, Kimbap, is a roll made with steamed rice, dried seaweed, choice of meat or fish, and vegetables. A great on-the-go food, Kimbap perfectly fit Park’s picture of a street food perfect for Jersey City.

roll and roll jersey city

{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

The other street food mainstay is the Cup Bap, a fully customizable rice bowl with meat, two sides such as shrimp tempura or vegetable dumplings, and a sauce such as spicy mayo or eel sauce. The result is an absolutely delicious and comforting, yet portable street food.

Patrons can expect a great many traditional Korean street foods and culinary delights, but Park is always looking to branch out beyond the usual fare. 

“While customers can count on restaurant staples such as rice rolls,” said Park, “dumplings, shumai, and Cup-Bap to always be available, [I] look forward to expanding [my] menu to include other types of street food in the future.” 

The Pandemic

roll and roll jersey city

{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

By the time Park signed the papers for Roll & Roll’s location in September 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was already well underway. A difficult time to open a restaurant, yes, but Park knew what she was getting herself into, and she believed in her vision. 

“At the time,” said Park, “[I] understood that there would be challenges to starting a new business during an economic recession, but [I] recognized a demand for Korean street food in Jersey City, so [I] decided to take the chance.”

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Wanting to keep things simple and manageable, Park has a small staff of roughly six part-time employees and opens her business from 11:30AM. to 8PM, Mondays through Saturdays.

Upon opening in November 2020, Park started taking Grubhub orders as well as establishing her own online ordering system via Roll + Roll’s website. 

roll and roll jersey city

{Photo credit: @rollrolljc}

In January, Park partnered with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a non-profit organization providing surplus restaurant food to food-insecure households.

“Despite some difficulties,” said Park, “[I’m] optimistic and believe [my] business has great growth potential.”

Follow Roll + Roll on Instagram for updates and food inspo.


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