The kitchen of a Pizza Hut in South Korea might seem an unlikely training ground for a Manhattan chef. But for Yong Seo, the culinary brain behind Appas Pizza on First Avenue, the chain gave him 18 years of hard-won experience and the inspiration to bring a different kind of pie to New Yorkers who thought they’d seen it all.

Seo opened Appas Pizza on First Avenue in late April. The restaurant, managed by Sungjin Park and backed by Ume Hospitality’s Linda Wang, is Manhattan’s only Korean pizza parlor, according to Eater New York. It features pies topped with classic Korean fare like bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) and kimchi.

The pizzas come in 10” or 14” sizes, reports Eater New York, and “are slightly smaller yet more pillowy and sweet than New York-style pizza, with a texture and flavor profile akin to their fast-food roots.”

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Seo started out as a prep cook at a Pizza Hut in Itaewon, a neighborhood in Seoul, and worked his way up over time to managing franchises and menu creation. After 18 years with Pizza Hut, he moved to New York to be closer to his daughter, Kelsey.

this photo shows a pizza topped with thinly sliced potatoes, crumbled bacon and a drizzle of some type of unidentified white sauce

Appas Pizza / Instagram

The menu at Appas Pizza is currently limited to a handful of specialty pies sporting a unique crust made with a mozzarella/cheddar blend and sweet potato cream. Options include the Bulgogi, the Sausage and Shrimp, the Potato, the Kimchi Bacon, the BBQ Chicken and the Hawaiian. Customers can also order Bulgogi Risotto and Kimchi Bacon Risotto.

Instagram foodies have pitched in to help spread the word about Appas Pizza. For example, a content creator known as @appeelingeats reviewed the restaurant on May 15, noting, “These pizzas look small in size, but they are hefty and packed full of goodies. From the double cheesy crust to the sweet potato cream and the loaded toppings, you will not be leaving Appas hungry.”

Food & Ingredients