After five years, Kimbap Cafe — known for its Korean-inspired farm-to-table cuisine — is closing in Raleigh's Seaboard Station shopping center.
"We are sad to bring you this news today, but the time has come. Kimbap will be closing its doors," Hunter wrote on Facebook. "We thank you allowing us to feed you and get to know you over the past 5 years. Thank you for being with us. Embracing us in the neighborhood and being a part of our lives."
Kimbap serves a menu that embraces local North Carolina meats and produce. A bibimbap rice bowl has been a mainstay, along with dumplings, tacos and noodle dishes.
Last year, Hunter switched up dinner service a few nights a week, starting the UMMA Project, a menu of small shareable dishes named after the informal Korean word for mother. She said then she had considered closing Kimbap, but the idea for a more intimate concept continued to nag at her.
“That word inspires me in so many ways,” Hunter said then. “It’s a tribute to my adoptive mom and to my heritage and just the broader perspective of mothers, the farmers and women in the community I’ve gotten to know.”
She also began classes to teach diners how to make the dumplings she was known for.
In her farewell post, Hunter thanked the farmers and vendors stocking the restaurant and her staff.
"And to the Kimbap staff. I hardly have the words," Hunter said. "You have embraced our customers as though they are family. You have built this community. You have fed and nourished our guests. You have been with me through good and bad times."
Kimbap made a home in the Seaboard Station development, with neighboring restuarants like J. Betski's, 18 Seaboard and Brew coffee shop. It serves a popular lunch, but doesn't have the luxury of the kind of foot traffic found in downtown Raleigh.
For its final two weeks of service, Kimbap expects to make it a celebration. "For the next 2 weeks, we are celebrating all the fabulousness that we have had the opportunity to be a part of!" the post read.