In about two months, Calvin Hoang will be opening his new restaurant, Kotu Korean Barbeque.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in March 2024. We're republishing it in May because Kotu is now open! Hours are 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

In 2022, Calvin Hoang helped bring Korean-style corn dogs to Tucson. As a franchise owner, he opened Two Hands, where Tucsonans can indulge in crispy corn dogs coated in potato cubes and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Now two years later, Hoang is starting his own concept. At his new restaurant expected to open this spring, small grills cover the tables, which can only mean one thing: Korean barbecue.

Hoang will open Kotu Korean BBQ, a new restaurant at 4545 N. Oracle Road where customers will have authentic Korean barbecue at their fingertips.

“We don't see a lot of very authentic Korean barbecue here, so we wanted to do something very original,” Hoang said.

With the idea to start a new restaurant, Hoang’s broker was able to find the perfect building on the city’s north side. Hoang has now been tasked with transforming the empty space into the newest Korean barbecue hotspot.

Unlike Two Hands, Hoang has had to start from scratch. When starting the corn dog franchise, he said he had a step-by-step guide he could follow, but now he has to take matters into his own hands.

“This is my first time doing, like, full-service restaurant dining,” Hoang said. “I’m most excited to see customers and talk to them. In fast food like Two Hands, they just come and go so I haven't had much time to talk to my customers.”

In a 3D rendering of Kotu, colorful comic book-inspired murals cover the walls. The big space is filled with tables, each featuring a small grill where customers can cook their own barbecue. They even have a private room where people can book parties, Hoang said.

ABOVE: Small grills are built into the tables so customers can cook and eat all the Korean barbecue they want. LEFT: In about two months, Calvin Hoang will be opening his new restaurant, Kotu Korean Barbeque.

When you visit a typical barbecue place, you usually order your meal and a waiter comes out with your pulled pork or ribs. That’s not the case for Korean barbecue.

At most Korean barbecue spots, the grill is built into the dining tables, so customers can cook and eat all they want. That all-you-can-eat mantra is what Kotu is going for.

In order to ensure the dishes are authentic, Hoang enlisted the help of a group of chefs from Los Angeles. They each have experience working at popular Korean restaurants, bringing a little of LA to Southern Arizona.

The menu at Kotu will mostly focus on dishes involving beef and pork. Kotu will also have classic appetizers like fried chicken, fried dumplings and French fries.

Since Hoang’s main goal is to provide Tucson with authentic Korean barbecue, he said the key to making sure it’s the real deal is finding the right balance of seasonings and marinade. At Kotu, Hoang said they will focus on providing fresh, quality meat that isn’t over-seasoned or over-marinated.

Hoang plans to open Kotu’s doors by the end of April or early May. Until then, Tucsonans will be anxiously counting down the days to sit at the new restaurant, cooking up Korean barbecue until they can’t eat another bite.

Become a #ThisIsTucson member! Your contribution helps our team bring you stories that keep you connected to the community. Become a member today.

Jamie Donnelly is the food writer for #ThisIsTucson. Contact her via e-mail at