Kenny Yang, the owner of Gangnam Market, took over a ground floor market in December 2022 and turned it into an “American-Asian hybrid” grocery store with a deli, produce section, liquor and beer, plus a range of snacks, beverages and other items Yang imports from across Asia.
Raised in Chicago, Yang attended Harper High School and the University of Illinois Chicago. Yang’s parents run a business named Kent Young Health Products at 2400 S. Wentworth Ave., in Chinatown. After spending a decade working in different cities across East Asia and decided to come back to Chicago to help his parents in the mid-2000s and joined the restaurant business. Besides Gangnam Market, Yang currently owns the Strings Ramen chain, Ken Kee in Chinatown and Gyuro Ramen in the West Loop.
Yang hopes this new model will allow customers to try his favorite Asian products as well as items they would find in every American grocery chain.
“I grew up buying a lot of stuff from Whole Foods and Jewels. So for everyone’s convenience, of course, we want to keep their local favorites and add a little spice on the Asian elements,” he said. “It’s actually a bit of local favorites with just a little bit of Asian twist. … But definitely I tried to get things that Asians growing up in Chicago will love.”
Yang shares that the business was named after the popular South Korean district in Seoul and a bit inspired by the hit “Gangnam Style”. By renovating the interior, and adding lights and neon signs for each department, Yang wants to give people a unique destination. He hopes people will like his idea and support the grand opening of the market. Yang is currently still putting the final touches to Gangnam Market but he is ready to unveil his plan to the neighborhood.
“I just tried to have something really fun, for our family shopping for the weekend. And then the food court has six, seven concepts, from Asian bakery to American coffee. I just tried to have everything that I love in there,” he said.
You can visit Gangnam Market from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. every day, and enjoy the food court from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Featured Image Source: DLM Photography & Design