Burnt Belly


For Burnt Belly owner Kyu Yi, the restaurant business runs in his blood.

“My mom owned three restaurants,” Yi said. “That’s how I got started, selling deli meats, putting cream cheese on a bagel when I was 13 years old.”

Now, Yi’s very own restaurant Burnt Belly, located on Fremont Ave across from The Alhambra business complex, has developed a devoted local following with its unique fusion of traditional southern barbecue and Korean flavors.

After attending Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Pasadena, Yi worked at various restaurants before becoming executive chef of Gus’s BBQ, where he indulged in his true passion – barbecue.

Yi would bring home barbecue for the restaurant for his family to eat with Korean banchan side dishes. There, he discovered the perfect combination of pickled acidity and fatty meats, and the idea for Burnt Belly was born.

“I always told myself if I open a restaurant one day, I want to mesh these two together,” Yi said.

Burnt Belly first opened at Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel at the end of 2021 with lines that went out the door. They sold out in hours, with customers clamoring over a hearty combo plate with meat choices like BBQ brisket, pulled pork, and BBQ chicken. Their miso collard greens received a special shoutout from Los Angeles Times food critic Bill Addison.

The restaurant soon outgrew its humble origins and moved to its current Alhambra location in early 2023.

Yi’s wife, Katy Korsavong, is a full-time teacher in Temple City while managing the restaurant’s social media and communications. It’s a family affair – their 14-year-old daughter helps edit videos for their social media as well. 

While the Texas-style barbecue is currently center-stage in the world of barbecue, Yi believes Burnt Belly’s twist of Korean flavors and sides set them apart.

“No one really does kimchi cucumbers or pickled daikon mixed with their barbecue brisket rice bowl,” Yi said.

Another item that not many barbecue restaurants do? Burnt ends.

Other than the meat combo plate, their other crowd favorite is the loaded fries. The thick, crinkle-cut fries topped with a heaping pile of brisket, sauces, and pickled onions are a quick and affordable option for the lunch crowd.

Burnt Belly

1129 S Fremont Ave, Alhambra, CA 91803

Open Mon-Sat, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Recommended Items

BBQ Brisket Sandwich

Tender brisket sandwiched in between fresh buns, aioli, coleslaw, pickles, and pickled onions.

3 Meat Combo

Protein choices of BBQ brisket, pulled pork, cheddar jalapeno sausage, and BBQ chicken paired with sides such as coleslaw, potato salad, and more.

Loaded Fries

Fries, cheese sauce, choice of BBQ meat, gochujang aioli, fresh salsa, and pickled onions.