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Owner Daniel Yun decides to give the First Street restaurant a facelift and a new menu

Downtown Newberg now features a restaurant steeped in Korean culture.

After 14 years as the Vineyard Grill, owner Daniel Yun has tweaked his restaurant to become the Ar irang Grill and Bar, which combines traditional elements of Korean cuisine with American food in what is known as Korean fusion.GARY ALLEN - Owner Daniel Yun has introduced more Korean dishes to the menu at Ar irang Grill & Bar on First Street.

Korean-Mexican food has gained popularity nationwide recently, but Yun decided to prepare his dishes with a twist.

"We use Korean spices added to American style food. This is the fusion in our new menu," Yun said. "We have different Korean hot peppers and make it like a pesto sauce. We mix it with spices; some is hot and some is not."

An example of where Korean meets western food is found in its umami-like flavors in dishes such as bulgogi, a Korean barbecue of beef, short ribs and spicy chicken.

"We have a burger that we call the Kimchi Burger, which has kimchi and spicy pork belly. The salad is American and we put in the spice to top it off," Yun explained.

The menu reflects Yun's creativity in creating a menu based on more than 40 years of experience in the restaurant business. He decided to dabble with not only a fusion of Korean/American flavors, but also offer a taste of Korean/Italian food. A new item on the menu is a salmon rice cake alfredo and shrimp curry pasta.

Much of the Korean diet is almost entirely free of gluten and dairy with hefty servings of vegetables and seafood.

Yun was born in South Korea, near Seoul, and immigrated to America in 1978.

"My first job was in a steak house …," Yun said. "I've been working in the restaurant business for 40 years."

Ar irang (pronounced Arr-Irahn) still has a few of the previous Vineyard Grill items on the new menu and is flexible in what he serves.

"We listen to people's request so we can serve the food that they like," Yun said. "We change our daily specials when someone asks for something that they are hungry for."

Yun has also changed the look of the business, adding a shoji design inside while reducing the size of the main restaurant and expanding the bar area.

"The dining room used to be a little bigger and we moved some of the space into the bar," Yun said.

Shoji is the paper walls that are used primarily in Japan as a part of their interior design. It consists of translucent paper over a wooden frame that holds together the paper.

"Shoji is everywhere, in Japan, in China, Korea, we are very similar," Yun said. "The food is different and the language is different, but we are similar."

He painted the outside, put up a new sign and refinished the hardwood floors in the bar area, adding warmth to the interior.

"I'm not quite finished yet and I am thinking of doing something with the arched area in the wall," Yun said. "I'm thinking of making it something like an Asian doorway or something. I haven't decided yet."

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