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Workers convert the former Ocean Zen for restaurateur Angel Kim’s new Italian concept dubbed The Hill.
Workers convert the former Ocean Zen for restaurateur Angel Kim’s new Italian concept dubbed The Hill.

Restaurateur buys former Ocean Zen

Posted online
The restaurateur behind The Argentina Steakhouse, ReRico Brazilian Grill and Novo Asian Bistro is opening a new Italian concept at the former Ocean Zen building on East Battlefield Road.

Angel Kim is targeting a June 5 opening date for The Hill, a planned 120-employee restaurant at 600 E. Battlefield Road with fresh pasta, a buffet, crepes station, pizza and a macaroni bar. The restaurateur is investing $1.65 million into the project, which includes the purchase of the building. Kim is handling renovation and construction work himself.

Kim’s all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant is inspired by the St. Louis neighborhood of the same name. The Hill in St. Louis is known for its Italian restaurants and culture, including bakeries, grocery stores, restaurants and mom-and-pop shops, according to ExploreStLouis.com. Kim said the dining experience also would be similar to an all-you-can-eat restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas, called Cinzetti’s.

“That’s what my culinary background is. I was born in Argentina. I did an Italian culinary school,” Kim said. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”

Lee McLean III of SVN Rankin Co. represented the sellers, John and Johnson Tan, in the sale that closed Feb. 23. Declining to disclose the purchase price, McLean said the 7,200-square-foot property had been listed for $1.5 million. The property originally was listed for sale at $1.95 million in 2014.

The Tan brothers vacated the building in mid-2015 when they relocated Ocean Zen to the former Mr. Yen’s at 4117 S. National Ave.

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