Manna Offers Home-Style Fare in Lauderhill's Korea Town
Young Kho whirls around the dining room of her small Lauderhill restaurant.
One moment, she's laughing and chatting in Korean with a family of regulars. The next, she's patiently explaining the menu to a table of elderly New Yorkers.
A few minutes later, she's effortlessly gliding from the kitchen, in a pair of conservative wedge sandals, with a huge silver tray of banchan (side dishes) and barbecue.
Young and her husband, Tae, opened the doors four years ago to their modest eatery, Manna Restaurant, on State Road 441.
When the economy tanked, so did their clothing business. The couple, who have three children, were left looking for alternative options to make a living.
"We were looking for a business to support our family," Young says, her face lighting up in a cheeky smile. "We needed to make money."
Armed with a vast repertoire of family recipes, Young and Tae decided to leap into the restaurant industry, setting up shop in the burgeoning Korean district sprouting up around University Drive and Commercial Boulevard.
Right across the street from Gabose (the first Korean joint to grace the area) and just down the plaza from Korean grocer Kim & Lee Oriental Mart, Manna has become a firmly entrenched part of the local Korean community.
It strives to serve the kind of healthy, home-style fare one would find in any Korean household.
"Every mom makes food for her family," says Young. "We do the same."
While Manna doesn't offer the fancy charcoal pits found at other spots, the barbecue dishes are still some of the most popular offerings.