Bibibop specializes in Korean dishes served in a fast-casual serving style that allows diners to customize their rice bowls. Photo from Bibibop Asian Grill Facebook page
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

New restaurant space in the works on SR 725 in Washington Twp.

Proposed restaurant space that Washington Twp. officials say could become the Dayton area’s second Bibibop Asian Grill location is in the works on Ohio 725, although Bibibop officials said this morning that they do not intend to move forward with the project at this time.

An artist’s rendering, with Bibibop signage, was filed with Washington Twp. officials, and it shows plans for a stand-alone, 4,550-square-foot retail/restaurant building to be constructed at 1035 Miamisburg-Centerville Road on the northwest corner of McEwen Road and Ohio 725. The tract of land previously housed a bank that was recently demolished.

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Ryan Lee, Washington Twp.’s zoning manager, said the township received an application for a tentative Bibibop Asian Grill location, which he said “currently has a recommendation of approval” from the township’s zoning commission and is scheduled for review and potential approval by the Washington Twp. Board of Trustees on March 20.

But Bibibop officials say they’re not considering that Washington Twp. site at the moment — although they also didn’t rule out considering it in the future.

Tanaya Candella, Bibibop’s senior development manager, said this morning that Bibibop was approached earlier this year by the landlord of the new building proposed for the Washington Twp. site. The landlord provided the artist’s renderings that included the Bibibop logo, “to show us what they were proposing,” Candella said.

“As far as I know, the decision was made not to move forward on the project. I can’t tell you that we won’t entertain the location in the future, but at this time, I have nothing to indicate we are going to be moving forward.”

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Candella said she’s “not at liberty to discuss” deals that have not been finalized. “I am more than happy to share locations we have coming once they are signed deals,” she said.

Bibibop is in expansion mode. Candella said she has signed deals for four new restaurants, two in the Cleveland-area market, and one each in Columbus and Cincinnati. “The last thing we want is to mislead our customers about where we might be putting future locations,” she said.

Bibibop spokeswoman Rachel Newbury said this morning that while Bibibop does intend to add Dayton-area locations in the future, “there is nothing in the works for 2017” in the region.

Bibibop was founded in Columbus in 2013 and now operates 12 restaurants in the Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati areas. Its first Dayton-area location opened three months ago at 1200 Brown St. near the University of Dayton. The chain’s name is derived from the popular Korean dish, “bibimbap,” which translates into “mixed rice.”

Bibibop’s restaurants operate with a fast-casual, build-your-own service concept similar to Subway or Chipotle. Diners choose from purple or white rice for their bowl, or have their dish prepared as a salad or wrap, then select from two types of chicken, beef or tofu, and then top their dish from a variety of vegetables and garnishes, from pickled daikon radish to carrots to kale.

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