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Customers Become Like Family at Sakebob

Local restaurant melds Japanese and Korean cuisine into home-style experience.

For those who like sushi, there's a small restaurant in Oak Forest that should be added to your destination list—if it isn't there already.  Sakebob, which opened its doors in 2008, is home to authentic homemade sushi.  Many consider it the best around.

"We get customers from all over the south suburbs," said Kyong Wojcik, who is the owner and operator.  "A lot of the people who come here become regulars." 

This is Wojcik's first venture into the restaurant business, and she approaches it as she would a dinner she's hosting at her home.

Wojcik and her main chef, Su Young Moon—or "Johnny" to Wojcik—handle almost all the food preparation. Both are natives of South Korea, and they have melded Korean and Japanese style sushi into their menu. 

"Japanese sushi is the sweet style, and Korean is spicy style," said Wojcik.  "We do both." 

In fact, Johnny is formally trained in both styles. He boasts an education from the Cooking School of Kyung Joo Hotel in Korea, and the Sirano Cooking School in Osaka, Japan. He has worked at sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, New York, Virginia, and South Korea and Japan.

In spite of starting out in the middle of the recession, the restaurant has done reasonably well. 

"Our business is doing OK," said Wojcik.  "I'm not happy, happy, happy, but business is getting better."

Michelle Stoffle, who works as bartender/server, credits the hands-on approach of Wojcik and Johnny as the reason for the restaurant's success.

"I started coming here a few years ago as a customer, and it's been like a second home," she said.  "When you walk in here you're like family to Kyong and Johnny.  They greet you with a smile, always very friendly.  It's like coming home."

Stoffle has watched Wojcik take delight in introducing families to sushi. 

"She's always pushing people to try different things," she said.  "She makes it fun for the kids.  She starts them out with rice dishes and miso soup.  Before you know it, they're back and they're eating the sushi."

If you're not into sushi, the menu lists many cooked dishes, as well. Try the chicken and steak teriyaki with homemade teriyaki sauce.  Or maybe the spicy pork and beef dishes with vegetables, as well as baked mussels.

"Eighty-five to 90 percent of the food served is sushi," said Stoffle, "but people love the cooked foods, too. Everything is fresh and handmade, and you can taste it."

They also have a full service bar, which of course, includes some of their own creations. Wojcik and Johnny work  very hard to be unique, and according to Stoffle, it's starting to pay off.

"Fridays and Saturdays are getting busier and busier," she said.  "Lots of families.  Kids and parents and grandparents. Sometimes we're setting up tables clear across the restaurant. We're also starting to get some parties. One of the most popular is bachelorette parties. The girls are having dinner before they go out and do their thing."

Ethnic restaurants have not always fared well in Oak Forest, but Sakebob's family approach appears to be catching on.

is located at 6210 W 159th St. in Oak Forest.  Their phone number is (708) 926-9943.  Find them on the web at sake-bob.com

katie July 07, 2012 at 03:29 AM
I traveled over an hour with a group of teacher friends to try the sushi here. One of our friends had been going there for over two years and spoke highly of the place. From the moment we arrived we received THE WORST SERVICE we have ever had. Our waitress, Michelle, was awful. She made frowny faces and even complained to several other waitresses that our table didn't fill out our form for ordering correctly. We had previously told her we had never been here before or ordered sushi. We waited over an hour and a half for our food and when we were finally served one of the people in our party was told that her chicken wasn't done and it was still in the kitchen. After nearly everyone had finished their sushi the chicken was served. It was not fresh. It had very obviously sat under a warmer for some time. She never once apologized for our wait or for the quality of the food. The sushi was pretty tasty but the lack of service will eventually kill this place. Places that employ servers like that can't stay in business. After our meal, we asked to speak to the manager and she would not come speak with us. The waitress said "this is ridiculous, she is just going to laugh about this when you leave. If you are done paying, you can leave." I've never been treated like this before. It was completely uncalled for. TERRIBLE....TERRIBLE experience. I would go elsewhere. I will NEVER go here again.
Christopher Brown January 28, 2013 at 04:19 AM
I've always had excellent food and great service here, even when they're busy. Kyong really treats her customers like family. She will even cook you up something special (not on the menu) if she has the ingredients which are always fresh and Johnny's presentations are always top notch! Oh did I forget to mention the two large screen TV's? There's almost always a game on.

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