ARI Korean Steakhouse has only been open in Johns Creek a few months, & already this locally-owned restaurant is getting rave reviews on Yelp & featured on Zagat’s Hottest Restaurants in Atlanta and Best New Restaurants and Bars in Atlanta.
We recently had a chance to hear the story (and get a taste!) of how this special steakhouse + cake shop found it’s home in Johns Creek from co-owner & designer, Stella Lee.
Johns Creek CVB: Tell me a little about ARI. How did the idea to open a family restaurant come about?
Stella Lee: The Idea of ARI was to bring in Korean Culture to American society. Korean Barbecue has been extremely popular these days but many of them were limiting the quality of real Korean barbecue because of all you can eat or unlimited barbecue. Koreans are extremely knowledgable with meat cuts and have the most varieties of them. ARI wanted to introduce the quality of Korean Barbecue.
Where does the name “ARI” mean?
ARI is named from Korean Cultural Song called “ARIRANG“. We use the lyrics from ARIRANG in our mural, menu and different design works.
What made you choose Johns Creek?
Our family lived in Johns Creek for over ten years so it was natural for us to plan Korean Steakhouse in this area. It was our challenge to bring in Korean Barbecue culture to a mostly American area. However, we have a pride in Korean Food Culture and we wish to introduce them to people in Johns Creek.
The interior design in ARI is exceptional, and we know that you were the designer! What inspired the style you chose for this restaurant?
Thank you! One thing I have wanted to make sure was to not bring in ordinary Asian aesthetics that are overdone in America or countries other than Asia. Korea has many different trendy and beautiful restaurant designs but there is a conception in people’s mind that it should always be red, dramatic or bold. I wanted to bring in subtle and modern aesthetics of Korean restaurants trendy areas of Seoul into ARI. Korean BBQ spaces in the area are usually very casual and easy, but the characteristics of Johns Creek allowed us to be more creative about the space.
What are some of your most popular dishes?
Japchae Eggrolls, Spicy Fried Chicken, and Kalbi Bao from our appetizer and bibimbap from lunch menu are most popular. From our Barbecue menu, Marinated GALBI (Short Rib) and Wagyu are most popular.