A Springfield restaurateur is shaking up his holdings in the lead-up to the opening of his new concept, an all-you-can-eat Italian restaurant dubbed The Hill.
Before The Hill opens on June 5, Angel Kim is closing The Argentina Steakhouse indefinitely on May 20. In its place at 1410 E. Republic Road, Kim is partnering with La Hacienda owner Alfonso Olguin to open Frida Mexican Cuisine on May 30. Kim said he’s a silent partner in the venture named after Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. Argentina Steakhouse's closing was first reported by 417 Magazine
Argentina Steakhouse shares a 1.7-acre parcel with a Rapid Robert’s filling station at 1410 E. Republic Road, located at the intersection with Fremont Avenue. The property — which has a 2017 taxable appraised value of $1.4 million — is owned by Rob Wilson, president and CEO of Rapid Robert’s Inc.
In closing Argentina Steakhouse, Kim cited the need for help from its employees at The Hill, as well as his inability to purchase the property from Wilson.
“We’ve been trying for the past 12 years,” Kim said of purchase efforts. “We’ve been there for 17 years. We need to do something different.”
Kim said six to eight months after opening The Hill, he would begin to seek a new location he could purchase for Argentina Steakhouse.
“For now, we’re going to put it on hold,” he said.
At 600 E. Battlefield Road, Kim is investing $1.65 million — including the purchase of the building — renovating the former Ocean Zen property into The Hill, a restaurant inspired by the St. Louis neighborhood of the same name. He also owns the building that houses his ReRico Brazilian Grill restaurant at 3371 E. Montclair St.
Kim said Argentina Steakhouse’s 25 employees could take jobs at The Hill, Frida and ReRico.
In January, Kim sold his 2-year-old Novo Asian Bistro to its manager, Matt Kellough, for $100,000, he said.