Bibibop Asian Grill Now Open on Fifth Avenue
In Columbus, there’s no shortage of fast, casual restaurants, ideal for the hasty lunch or lazy dinner. They run the gamut of offerings from delicious to not-so-much-so, from downright unhealthy to at-least-there’s-lettuce, the only common denominator being cheap cost.
Bibibop Asian Grill is the latest to throw its hat into the city’s pool of quick-eats restaurants, opening August 19th at 1270 West Fifth Avenue, just off the intersections of West Fifth Avenue and Northwest Blvd. Their concept is one that’s tried and true: compose your own bowls, salads, or wraps from a concise, but flavorful, array of ingredients.
What’s different at the Bibibop though is the high quality of freshness, and preparedness, of everything they serve. They manage to handily combine tasty grub, healthful benefits, and reasonable cost without sacrificing integrity or personality.
Asian food often gets a bad rap for being loaded with sodium, MSG, and trans-fats. Ellie Robinson and her family, the owners and operators of Bibibop Grill, are on a mission to change that perception.
“We’re really concerned with our customers’ well-being, with how they feel about the food, and about themselves,” shares Robinson. “Our target audience are those who’ve graduated from ‘fast food’ but still want the ease and convenience it offered them. We believe we have a healthy, yet quick, solution for them.”
There are no fryers at Bibibop Grill; there’s a grill, a stovetop, and a steamer to make fresh rice every day. Most everything is prepped in-house, from the slicing of the onions, to the preparation of their trademark sauces.
Chung Choe is the Research & Development Manager at Bibibop (yes, they have one of those), and also Robinson’s mother. She is the one responsible for the simple, yet savory menu that includes an outstanding Purple Rice, perfectly cooked Steak, and an as-promised Spicy Sriracha Sauce that’ll give any combination of additives a swift kick of sweet heat.
Customers build their meals by choosing one or two starches as a base, and one or more protein items for heft. Then, guests are invited to dress their dishes from a selection fresh garnishes like pickled daikon, jalapeno corn relish, sesame carrots, and eggs, then top it off with one of three house sauces. Edamame and Kimchi are currently being offered as sides.
The restaurant seats roughly 50 at a time, but because of the ease of the menu, the average time any person spends on the actual line is less than a minute. There are both tall tops and large, spacious booths at Bibibop so installed to accommodate large groups of friends (it’s very close to Ohio State’s campus) or families.
Another one of Bibibop’s goals is to integrate themselves into the fabric of the 5xNW/Grandview community. It’s a part of town known for supportive and helpful neighbors, and already, Bibibop is making strides to be a part of that by releasing what could become a quarterly newsletter for their customers.
The newsletter is filled with fun trivia, how-to instructions on how to enjoy some of your favorite Asian fare, and even recipe suggestions for dining at the restaurant. Bibibop sources as locally as possible, and believes that the familial touch is the key to success.
“We have simple decor, an open kitchen, it’s like we’re inviting you into our home,” adds Robinson. “We want you to feel comfortable, relaxed, have a good meal, and not leave here feeling too full or too badly about what you just ate. We want to take care of our guests.”
Bibibop Asian Grill is open daily at 11am, and closes at 9pm Monday-Thursday, 10pm on Fridays and Saturday. For a longer look at their menu, visit www.bibibop.com.
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Exterior photo by Anne Evans. Food photo by Ayana Wilson.