***For Immediate Release***






Opening January 13, 2020:

Kitchen Story – Rockridge

5422 College Avenue, Oakland, Calif.


Opening February 2020:

U :Dessert Story – Berkeley

1849 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, Calif.


Opening August 2020:

Sweet Maple – Palo Alto

150 University Avenue, Palo Alto, Calif.



San Francisco, Calif. Restaurateur Hoyul Steven Choi expands his Bay Area brunch, dinner, and dessert footprint with the announcement of three new restaurants opening throughout the East Bay and South Bay. Choi opens a second location of his contemporary Thai-inspired California cuisine eatery Kitchen Story (Castro District, San Francisco) with a Korean-focused menu in Rockridge (5422 College Avenue, Oakland). U :Dessert Story branches out from its two SF locations (Castro District, Marina District) for a third locale opening at the famed Shattuck & University culinary corridor in Berkeley (1849 Shattuck Avenue). Choi also opens a third Sweet Maple in downtown Palo Alto (150 University Avenue).


Hoyul Steven Choi has built an impressive portfolio of nine thriving Bay Area restaurants and soon to be 12 locations across San Francisco, Mill Valley, Oakland, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and San Francisco International Airport. With an emphasis on breakfast, brunch, and dinner menus featuring progressive California fare with savory flavors from the Thai and Korean kitchens, Choi is a serial entrepreneur dedicated to serving Bay Area communities delicious dishes while offering exceptional dining experiences. Choi is the restaurateur who popularized Millionaire’s Bacon® at several of his restaurants, including Sweet Maple, Taylor Street Coffee Shop, Berkeley Social Club, Blackwood, Kitchen Story, and Surisan. Packaged Millionaire’s Bacon® is now available for the first time for to-go sales at Sweet Maple and Surisan.


Kitchen Story – Rockridge

In the heart of the family-friendly Oakland neighborhood of Rockridge, Kitchen Story opens on College Avenue with daytime menus focusing on American-style breakfast and brunch with Korean influences. Kitchen Story – Rockridge presents a strong dinner concept celebrating Korean foods with popular dishes such as Jjapaguri (inspired by the hit movie Parasite, a harmony of two classic Korean instant noodles, Jjapaghetti and Neoguri Udon, with Millionaire’s Bacon®), KFC & Waffles (boneless KFC with waffle and adobo maple syrup), Galbi Omurice (scrambled eggs over jasmine rice, galbi, carrots, spinach, sriracha demi-glace), JjamPong (spicy seafood noodles soup, shrimp, scallop, calamari, mussel, vegetables), and Stonepot (mixed rice with vegetables and meat on hot stone pot). Many of the most popular dishes at Kitchen Story – Castro District will also be available on the Rockridge menus.


The two-story 2,500 square feet Rockridge restaurant houses a full bar with an award-winning cocktail menu featuring KS Millionaire’s Mary (#1 “People’s Choice” Award, Bloody Fest: 2016, 2017, 2018) and an array of artisanal cocktails. With a focus on Korean and Thai ingredients, the Kitchen Story – Rockridge cocktail menu includes Incheon Mule (soju, lime, ginger beer, vodka), Tamarind (tamarind syrup, jalapeño infused tequila, lemon juice), Oakland Sour (whiskey bourbon, lemon, hibiscus infused vodka), and Strawberry Yuja (rum, fresh strawberries, lemon, decaf citron tea). Kitchen Story – Rockridge enhances its drink menu with a hard-alcohol liquor license (Kitchen Story – Castro District exclusively serves beer and wine).


A standout for an amazing start to any day, Kitchen Story has become a go-to breakfast staple for locals and visitors alike. Aislyn Greene with New York Magazine reported, “My favorite brunch spot is Kitchen Story.”


U :Dessert Story – Berkeley

Influenced by Korean, Japanese, and Thai confections, U :Dessert Story takes sweets to a whole new level with visually stunning desserts baked with only the finest of ingredients. U :Dessert Story encourages dessert enthusiasts to create their own story by adventurously experiencing the handcrafted Asian-inspired eats at U :Dessert Story. The centuries old Japanese green tea matcha is elevated to a modern aesthetic at U :Dessert Story with its highly inventive Matcha Latte, Dirty Matcha, Matcha Float, Yuzu Matcha Spritzer, Matcha Crepe Cake, and the crown jewel Chocolate Organic Matcha Lava Cake. The menu also includes Bingsoo (Korean snow ice), Japanese Mitarashi Dangho (Mochi balls), an assortment of Toasts (Mango Sticky Rice Toast, Thai Tea Lava Toast), Specialty Drinks (Caramel Choco Cheese, Blue Lychee), Organic Cheese Tea, and Coffee.


Sweet Maple – Palo Alto

Palo Alto welcomes the opening of Sweet Maple, following Choi’s classic Lower Pacific Heights’ locale (opened circa 2010) and recent Cupertino location (a Walnut Creek location of Sweet Maple will open in early 2023). Hailed by national food critics at Rachael Ray Show, Discovery Channel, Food Network, Business Insider, and Inc. for its beloved Millionaire’s Bacon®, Sweet Maple has established itself as an iconic San Francisco brunch spot. Sweet Maple – Palo Alto will feature a completely rebuilt 3,000 square feet restaurant with a refined contemporary design. Its full bar will be on display from the front windows that are adjacent to its beautiful outdoor seating area.


Serving a classic American breakfast and brunch menu with a touch of Asian influence, innovative twists to familiar favorites are what to expect at Sweet Maple. Diners will find exciting choices such as omelets, scrambles, benedicts, morning sandwiches, pancakes and French toasts, pizzas, burgers, soups, salads, stone pots, morning cocktails, bubblies, wines,      craft beer, and healthy choice combos. Packaged Millionaire’s Bacon® is now available for purchase at Sweet Maple.


Sweet Maple embarks on the South Bay with its friendly motto: Happy Morning, Everyday, Everywhere.


About Hoyul Steven Choi

A Bay Area resident for 35 years, Hoyul Steven Choi immigrated from Busan, South Korea to San Francisco in 1984. Choi received a BA in Molecular & Cell Biology and Physics from UC Berkeley, and went on to conduct biotech cancer research and treatment. While a researcher at Stanford University, Choi and his wife Jiyeon Choi – who moved to the Bay Area from Seoul, South Korea with a degree in graphic design – launched their first breakfast-focused restaurant Taylor Street Coffee Shop in Union Square in 2002. The Choi’s revitalized Taylor Street Coffee Shop following its initial opening in the early 1990s and 10-year tenure under other ownership. Four years later, they took over Fred’s Coffee Shop in Sausalito, a restaurant that was established in 1966. In 2010, the first Sweet Maple opened at Sutter and Steiner Streets in Lower Pacific Heights.  


In 2013, the Choi’s opened two new restaurants including Kitchen Story – Castro District and the American-Thai restaurant Blackwood (Marina District). In 2014, they opened the North Bay brunch mecca Kitchen Sunnyside (Mill Valley). Their first Korean restaurant, Berkeley Social Club, opened in 2016 as well as their Fisherman’s Wharf modern Korean/American cuisine-focused restaurant, Surisan. From 2018 – 2019, the Choi’s opened two locations of U :Dessert Story (Castro District, Marina District), and Sweet Maple – SFO opened in 2019. Three new restaurants are now opening, including Kitchen Story – Rockridge, U :Dessert Story – Berkeley, and Sweet Maple – Palo Alto.


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