Taste Of Oklahoma: Chef Kevin Lee’s Birdie's Restaurant Concept Turnaround

In a matter of three weeks, Chef Kevin Lee flipped his whole Edmond restaurant’s concept around, but he just hasn't changed the sign. Now, the new menu at "Birdie's" is sure to impress.

Thursday, April 11th 2024, 9:56 am

By: News 9


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On the outside, a sign calls the place “Birdie’s Fried Chicken,” but on the inside, a modern Korean steakhouse which defies all expectations.

In a matter of three weeks, Chef Kevin Lee flipped his whole Edmond restaurant’s concept around, but he just hasn't changed the sign.

“They just still come in thinking it's a chicken place,” Lee said. “They're so confused, like, ‘this was a chicken place like yesterday. What just happened?’”

Hailing from Norman, Lee is skilled in French, Italian and Asian cuisine, but said he got his start cooking accidentally.

“I honestly became a chef accidentally, it wasn't planned,” Lee said. “Growing up, I always loved food. Food is something I've always looked forward to every day.”

As for his restaurant, Lee said he wanted to merge his passion, his love for Korean barbecue, with what Oklahoma loves, steak.

“Being in Oklahoma, people love steak,” Lee said. “We're the stockyard capital here in America, steak is something we love… and Korean BBQ is huge right now in bigger cities. So I want to kind of merge those.”

Returning home from the Food Network competition “Tournament of Champions,” Lee said despite finishing in second, it gave him the confidence to make a change to his restaurant.

“Maybe I am pretty good at being a chef and competing,” Lee said. “That's what really fueled me to come back home from that competition, to kind of change my concept and just be me again.”

Lee said his bar staff created all new drinks for the new Birdie's, concoctions that complement the new menu full of small plates of Korean dishes, with a modern twist.

One of his most popular items, the wagyu steak. Six ounces of tender beef along with a fun trio of dipping sauces, and lettuce for the option to make it a wrap.

With a cooking style Lee himself calls unique, he said for a long time he fought his urge to cook Korean food. When he opened his fried chicken restaurant, Lee said the food was great, but his mental health was not.

“I was in a big slump when I had my chicken place,” Lee said. “I really didn't feel happy, and I think I needed that time to really appreciate what I had before… now I know this is my destiny.”

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