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Barracks Row gets burgers, Korea style

Kraze Burgers plans to compete with American fast-food heavyweights in their own turf.

A Korean-owned hamburger-franchise is slated to open its third U.S. restaurant — the first in the District — in early spring 2013.

Kraze Burgers debuted its first U.S. location in Bethesda, Md., in November 2011.

The company says its Eastern Market location at 415 8th Street SE is among the 10 it "hopes" to open or have under contract in the greater DMV area by the end of the year.

"Our goal is to open multiple locations as the right opportunities arise," says Diana Lee, Kraze Burgers director of design and marketing. "We have our eye on many locations such as Dupont Circle, 14th & U Corridor, Anacostia and downtown."

Despite having to make several modifications to the structure — like installing a kitchen — Lee says the firm’s experiences with historic and high-rise office buildings made the Barracks Row construction seem easy by comparison. She added one of the main reasons the firm opted for the location was the area’s "diverse shops and restaurants."

Kraze Burgers began 15 years ago inspired by American hamburger chains and as an attempt to introduce American-style burgers to Koreans. Now, it has more than 100 locations in Asia, and plans to compete with American fast-food heavyweights on their own turf.

"We are currently under construction in Tysons Galleria as well and hope for a back-to-back opening of both locations," Lee says. "Soon after, we hope to open locations in Germantown and BWI."

Although Lee did not disclose the amount invested in the Barracks Row location, she says the approximate cost to open a Kraze Burgers restaurant varies between $275,000 and $450,000 for a 1,500-2,000 square-feet eatery. The Barracks Row location is about 1,500 square feet.

Read more articles by Luis Velarde.

Luis Velarde writes about business, investments, real estate, and urban development. His work has appeared in the BBC World Service, Voice of America and others.
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