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NY: YiShan Korean Cuisine & BBQ Serves Up a Unique Experience for Middletown Residents

Published: February 27, 2023
Patrons gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of YiShan Korean Cuisine & BBQ, including Middletown Mayor, Joseph DeStefano (center) and owner YiShan and her son (right of DeStefano) at 74 Railroad Ave, in Middletown, New York on Feb. 23, 2023. (Image: Mike Lyu/Vision Times)

On Feb. 23, the YiShan Korean Cuisine & BBQ held its grand opening event in Middletown, New York which was attended by local political figures and their representatives as well as numerous residents. 

According to their website, “YiShan Korean Restaurant is dedicated to providing delicious Korean food to the local community. The owner, YiShan, used to run a restaurant in Korea for many years and now she brings delicious and healthy authentic Korean food to everyone.”

Located at 74 Railroad Avenue in Middletown, upstate New York, the site previously hosted an Italian restaurant, Tony Boffa’s, for over 70 years before the site was handed over to the new operators. 

Middletown Mayor, Joseph M. DeStefano, who attended the event, told Vision Times that “the transition from the Boffa family to the current Korean restaurant symbolizes the change and diversity we offer here in the city.”

DeStefano believes the restaurant’s unique concept and the owner’s decades of experience in the industry are a “fantastic opportunity” for Middletown residents to “explore other cultures.” “I think it’s a great thing for our city,” he said. 

Patrons will enjoy a variety of dishes including Cowboy bones, prepared in the Korean BBQ, that are “tender and chewy in one bite.” Diners can choose a healthy Korean soup, Korean fried chicken or a delicious, seafood hotpot in addition to many other menu items.

“The seafood is particularly abundant and super fresh. Special seasoning tastes better the more you eat, and the spicy and sour taste comes out later. Seafood and side dishes are very tasty in the mouth. The squid comes with Korean kimchi as a side dish, which is delicious and healthy,” the restaurant’s website reads. 

YiShan provides diners with a unique experience unlike anything residents have experienced locally before. Diners can choose to cook their meal at their table themselves which DeStefano describes as extremely fun.

“It’s not only good food, but it’s a lot of fun and [a great] experience for a family,” he said.


An ‘up and coming city’ 

A representative for New York Senator James Skoufis attended the grand opening and told Vision Times, “It’s an honor to be here representing Senator James Skoufis for this opening and we were privileged to give the entrepreneur a certificate of recognition,” adding that YiShan is “from Korea. She had a restaurant in Korea for 20-years and now she’s in America and she’s starting a restaurant here in Middletown. Middletown is an up and coming city, and we welcome her aboard and we’re here to help her anyway we can.”

A representative from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther’s office said, “It’s very nice to be here, and to celebrate the grand opening of this new and wonderful restaurant. I remember it back in the day when it was Tony Boffa’s and now it has a whole new family, a whole new vibe and we welcome this new restaurant to the community and wish them the very best success and happiness.”

So far, YiShan has been able to deliver on its food and experience. Diner Maria Garcia posted a testimonial on the restaurant’s website saying, “I’ve been wanting to eat authentic Korean food for a long time, and today I finally came to YiShan. The Korean BBQ is really delicious, and I like the sweet and spicy taste the most. The seafood pot is also very tasty. It’s really great!”

James Smith said, “I actually don’t have a good stomach, so I was a little worried that my stomach wouldn’t adapt before I ate. But their dishes are all very healthy and made with fresh ingredients. My body is very satisfied after eating!”

YiShan Korean Cuisine & BBQ is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Patrons can reserve a special party room on site by calling (845) 775-4725 for English and (860) 616-6666 for Chinese or Korean-language service.