New Burrito Loco owner hopes to reimagine Dinkytown restaurant

Burrito Loco was purchased by John Park, who has plans for new menu items, drinks and entertainment.

Burrito Loco Owner John Park poses in his restaurant on Sunday, Nov 24. Park recently bought the restaurant and will bring Korean flavors to the new menu.

Jerusa Nyakundi

Burrito Loco Owner John Park poses in his restaurant on Sunday, Nov 24. Park recently bought the restaurant and will bring Korean flavors to the new menu.

Imani Cruzen

Burrito Loco in Dinkytown will see a revamped menu and atmosphere under a new owner. 

The restaurant and bar was bought from owner Greg Pillsbury by John Park on Nov. 20. Park plans to introduce new menu items, including fusion foods, along with updates to the building’s interior. 

Park owns Gogi Bros. House, a Korean barbecue restaurant in Eden Prairie. He said he will bring this cuisine to the Burrito Loco menu. 

“You can definitely expect a Korean barbecue burrito to pop up sometime,” Park said.

Though the menu will largely stay the same, Park also plans to draw from other cultures to create even more fusion foods for the location. He said the ongoing refinishing of the bar and dining room, which is expected to conclude in December, will create a “college bar” atmosphere with various drinking games and specialty drinks.

“It’s that college vibe that propels people to become successful and do great sales in Dinkytown,” said Marshall Nguyen, a commercial real estate broker from Caspian Group, who represented Park.

Park said he also plans to bring DJs to the location and encourage groups to come in and play drinking games. 

“We will at least try to make all the college kids happy on campus, have it still be the hot spot to go to. If there’s anything that they want that we don’t carry, vocalize it. Let us know,” Park said. “And, I mean, it’s their campus. We’re just here to help make it better.”

Dinkytown Business Alliance President Kent Kramp said while it’s sad when longtime business owners leave, it’s good to see owners show enthusiasm for re-imagining the spaces. 

“But the biggest thing is the DBA’s excited that somebody’s going to come in that’s willing to reinvest in a property that’s in Dinkytown,” Kramp said. “That’s an exciting thing. We like that, we’re all for that.”

Park said he believes he can bring a fresh perspective to Burrito Loco and the December refinishing will keep the location appealing to a younger demographic.

“The [current] bar is definitely outdated, so we want to make sure we stay up with the trends and what people like,” Park said. 

Keeping the current Burrito Loco menu will differentiate Park from other restaurant owners specializing in Korean food. Park said he isn’t concerned about competition from other Korean restaurants because his fusion food is less traditional.

“Just him being in the restaurant business, he understands how powerful it is to have a successful restaurant in Dinkytown,” Nguyen said. “He saw an opportunity and jumped on it.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Gogi Bros. House as a food truck. It is now a restaurant.