Hinman College’s Night Owl now has a taste of midtown Manhattan, thanks to one group of Binghamton University students.
After seeing the success of chicken over rice dishes in New York City, Sung Kim, a senior majoring in management, came up with a plan to bring the dish, which he named Chick-N-Bap, to BU.
“I’ve gotten this idea last year with a couple of buddies of mine,” Kim wrote in an email. “People were obsessed with it, and I even witnessed my upperclassmen drive down and up to purchase tens of platters to feast on in Binghamton. With that being said, we knew that there was a demand and a market for us, and all we had to do was execute the dish and target it accordingly.”
The dish consists of marinated chicken, seasoned rice and shredded iceberg lettuce with options for white, green, barbecue or hot sauce, according to co-founder Daekwon Kim, a senior majoring in psychology. At $6 a dish, this new late-night option was a popular choice this past weekend.
“I thought it was a nice change to the menu. It’s very different from the rest of the food Night Owl usually serves,” said Jason Cruz, a sophomore majoring in biology.
But while diners agreed this new option was creative, it did not completely live up to some students’ expectations.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s as good as the kind in the city, but I think it gives people a good chance to experience it. Especially for people locally, who don’t go the city often, it gives them a feel for what this is,” said Kenny Blando, a sophomore majoring in economics.
Sung Kim explained that his goal was not to replicate the New York City dish, but to give students another option for late-night snacking.
“I think everybody has an expectation of this being the same exact product as the infamous 53rd and 6th chicken over rice,” he wrote. “What I want to tell them is this. I’ve tried to create a very similar experience as the one you would get at 53rd and 6th. And all I want to provide is some quality and nostalgic taste of good ol’ chicken over rice for those who may be sober or not during the late night hours. I hope students will appreciate the fact that due to this, we’re the only campus to serve NYC style chicken over rice in their dining services as far as I’m concerned.”
Regardless of whether or not the dish met taste expectations, it surpassed Sodexo’s sales expectations, according to Christian Ko, a sophomore majoring in computer science and one of Sung Kim’s partners in the culinary venture.
“Sodexo told us that they would be extremely impressed if we manage to sell 150 platters total in two days. We managed to sell little over 300 in the first 3 hours on the first night, forcing us to close down early because we ran out of ingredients,” Ko wrote. “We were able to provide the same result as the first day – totaling our sales to about 650 platters in merely 6 hours.”
If the experiment continues to go well, Sung Kim may receive more than positive feedback.
“I am employed under Sodexo, thus getting paid Sodexo wages,” he wrote. “However, if we do draw enough attention and traffic due to our product, the people that I have talked to within Sodexo management have agreed to talk further about royalty rates.”
After coming up with the idea to introduce his dish to Night Owl, Sung Kim’s idea had to be cleared by several BU and Sodexo administrators.
“After recreating this product, luck has it that President Stenger came to speak in one of my leadership class last semester. I followed up with him immediately. Then I included my proposal for an dining service idea where a student group could partner with Sodexo on campus and during the late night time,” he wrote.
Sung Kim contact Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose, and then met with Peter Napolitano, director of Auxiliary Services, who put him in contact with BU’s Sodexo partner.
Sung Kim said he was excited to be making an impact in a field about which he cares deeply.
“Food is one of my few passions in life,” he wrote. “I plan on owning my own restaurant in the city some time in the future.”
Napolitano praised Kim’s initiative in coming up with the menu item.
“This is a very good example of class room learning and real world experience coming together,” he wrote.