CrunCheese puts a twist on a traditional Fair Trade favorite.
A new Korean fast food is rapidly gaining popularity on the University of Minnesota campus.
Founded in 2019, CrunCheese, which opened in Dinkytown in early April, is an initially Las Vegas-based hot dog shop that claims to add a Korean twist to the traditional corn dog.
The company name is a descriptor of the product: CrunCheese offers breaded fried slices of beef in a crispy cheese coating. Visitors can choose from a variety of menu options, which include a cheddar hot dog, mozzarella hot dog and more. Customers can customize their hot dog and can choose from a variety of sauces and condiments to top it off.
Minneapolis site owner Chang Yo said he decided to open a franchise because he liked the ingredients in CrunCheese. After trying a variety of Korean-style hot dogs, Yo said that for him, the simplicity of CrunCheese’s recipes is key.
“Other places try to add non-Korean or unconventional toppings like Hot Cheetos,” Yo said. “Here at CrunCheese, our style reflects the authenticity of the original Korean hot dog.”
Like many new restaurants, CrunCheese drew impressive crowds during its opening hours. In its first days, a long line of customers waited to try Dinkytown’s new hot dog restaurant. What’s unique, however, is the community’s enthusiasm for what they say is a hip new place to satisfy their varied palates and fair-trade food cravings.
Emily Vo, a nursing student at Mankato State University, came from Mankato to try the newly opened restaurant. She had been in line for over half an hour when the store closed. Although her night didn’t go as planned, Vo expressed how excited she was about CrunCheese.
“I first heard about it when they opened in Vegas, and ever since then I’ve always wanted to try it,” Vo said.
Shana Wanjohi, a second-year student, said she had been anticipating the opening for a while. As someone who loves Korean cuisine, Wanjohi said it was important to have restaurants like CrunCheese to spread awareness of different cultural foods on campus.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re exposed to different cultures,” Wanjohi said.
Lisette Horne, a psychology student, said she tried the potato and mozzarella hot dog, which Yo says is the most popular menu item.
“I really liked what I ordered and thought it was a great opportunity to try Korean food,” Horne said.
Yo also said the current soft launch hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., but locals can expect the opening time to change to noon by next week.