San Antonio/ Retail & Industry
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Published on June 15, 2024
San Antonio's Favorite Korean Eatery, Cypress Cafe, Relocates to Lombrano Food Hall After EvictionSource: Google Street View

The longstanding Cypress Cafe, a beloved Korean eatery in downtown San Antonio, is set to briskly turn a new chapter in its culinary story. After 24 years in the H-E-B Cypress Tower, the establishment cooked its last meal for customers at its original location on Friday, June 13. Owners Mimi and Chang Lee are relocating their venture to Lombrano Food Hall, roughly a mile west from where they first started. This move came after an eviction notice was served by the building's management in May, opting to restrict access solely to H-E-B employees.

Despite the sudden shift, customer support for the Lees has been unwavering, with many promising to continue patronizing their favorite spot in its new incarnation. "Don't worry, we'll follow you," they reassured Mimi Lee, as recounted in a San Antonio Report interview. In a gesture of gratitude, patrons left the original location holding not just their usual dishes but also pieces of decor, gifts from the owners to commemorate the cafe's history.

The Cypress Cafe won't feature a dining area at the Lombrano Food Hall, streamlining operations to focus on takeout and delivery only. The entrepreneurial journey of the Lees, which led them from South Korea to the United States in 2000, has been marked by adaptability and resilience. Customers have been drawn by both their traditional Korean recipes and their commitment to homestyle food and service, which will undoubtedly continue to be the case in their new kitchen-centric setup.

Adaption has defined the Lees' approach since the beginning. After they took over a sandwich shop, they strategically introduced Korean favorites to the menu - such as bulgogi and bibimbap - thus attracting new customers and ensuring survival. H-E-B's tenure in the building indeed helped their business to flourish, a point Mimi Lee acknowledged with gratitude. Notwithstanding being "shocked" by the eviction notice, she retained a positive outlook, telling her husband, "God has another plan ... geogjeonghajima," meaning "don't worry" in Korean. The couple intends to shortly begin serving food from their new location, with announcements to be posted on Instagram.

As the Cypress Cafe prepares for its renewed venture in the Lombrano Food Hall, Mimi Lee expresses her excitement to focus on her passion for cooking. "I'm so happy," she declared in statements made to the San Antonio Report. The Lombrano location promises a well-equipped commercial kitchen shared with other food establishments and comes with the benefits of lower rental costs and operational simplification. The closure of their original location marks the end of an era, but also the start of a promising new one, with the Lees ready to serve both lunch and dinner to their loyal and potentially new customers. As their story continues to unfold, San Antonians can eagerly await the relaunch of a local favorite in just about a month's time.