Seoul Brothers is Closing: Here’s What’s Next for Vic and Josh!

Vic Scott and Josh Coates, Co-Owners of Seoul Brothers (Photo from FB)
Vic Scott and Josh Coates, Co-Owners of Seoul Brothers (Photo from FB)

Just over three years ago, brother and sister, Josh Coates and Victoria (Vic) Scott allowed me to tell their story as they planned to bring Korean-fusion food to downtown Knoxville. They soon opened Seoul Brothers in Marble City Market and many of us fell in love with their food, served up as a homage to their mother’s cooking. The restaurant has enjoyed a great run, but the two announced over the weekend that it will soon close. Here’s what they posted on social media:

Opening Seoul Brothers and Bubbles & Cream has been a dream come true for us in so many ways. We are grateful to have had this experience and to have been able to share this ride with so many amazing people. We are thankful for our time spent at Real Good Kitchen and Marble City Market as we have shared with you the food of our childhood. Our time spent at both places has taught us so much about being entrepreneurs. We have also had the opportunity to meet and work with so many fantastic local businesses and been able to serve our community and our wonderful customers. We can’t help but hope that our mother would be proud of what we have built in her honor.
Our last day of service will be June 16th. We have submitted our notice with Marble City Market and will be closing both Seoul Brothers and Bubbles & Cream at that time. We hope that you will come and see us for the next 16 days while we continue to serve our community. If you do you might get some insider information about what is coming next from us!
This dream would not have been possible without our friends, family, and other local entrepreneurs that have supported us on this journey. To them we want to express a special thank you! We appreciate all the love, support, and advice you have given us along the way.
We would also like to thank all of the team members that have worked along side us on this journey to bring you our Korean fusion creations. Our team has been a blessing that we will be forever grateful for and we are proud to have worked with you. We thank you for all your hard work.
We would also like to say THANK YOU to all of the people that have come to enjoy our food and continued to support Seoul Brothers. We appreciate your continued support and hope to see you over the next couple of weeks as we say goodbye to this chapter of our lives.
There are new things coming from us on the horizon. So this isn’t the last you will see of us by a long shot. Seoul Brothers has had a good 3 year run and it’s time for us both to step into the next phase. We can’t wait to share with you what that is going to be soon. So, STAY TUNED!
I sat down with Vic to learn more about the decision to close Seoul Brothers and to find out what is next for the two. It starts with a survey of their life in the last three years — a lot has happened. Josh got married and now has a beautiful child. Vic got engaged under the solar eclipse. And that’s just the personal. They also opened Bubbles and Cream Ice Cream in Marble City Market, and Hong’s Kitchen in Pretentious Glass. Meanwhile, Vic got a full time job with U.S. Foods and became very involved in local non-profits. It’s a lot.
With all that going, the two decided to close Hong’s Kitchen last November, so they could better focus on their next moves. Vic said they’d known all along that working the restaurant wasn’t her long-term goal as Josh is the chef who loves being in the kitchen. “He lives for it. He lives it and breathes it and the restaurant industry is something he’s made for.” She’d always focused on the business side and they knew she would eventually move back toward a job that more suited her interests and skills.
After she took the job with U.S. Foods, they began to examine the remaining businesses. In the end they decided that a pivot for Josh was his best way forward and that, while she’ll continue to support him, Vic will shift her focus to other things. With the closure of Bubbles and Cream and Seoul Brothers, Josh will turn his attention to a new concept which he will open later in the summer at the food hall. The new concept will be based on pasta and will be called Pasta Vivo.
“He loves pasta and has his whole life . . . You can see his whole face light up when he talks about it.” This, she said, is his chance to follow a passion that is his own, which is a very different idea than that for Seoul Brothers. She said he’s testing sauces for the new concept and all the sauces will be “scratch-made, he going to have several staple sauces and probably a seasonal. He’s doing fresh pasta.” She said he’ll have more than one kind of pasta and service should be quick since they aren’t using dried pasta and can prepare the dishes rapidly. She said he’s excited to share it and hopes the community continues to love his food in its next iteration.
Victoria Scott and Josh Coates, Seoul Brothers, Knoxville, April 2021
For Vic, she’s working the full-time job, which she enjoys, but she’s also expanding her involvement with the non-profits with which she has connected. She’s currently the treasurer for the Real Good Kitchen Foundation, a new 501(c)(3), separate from the for-profit Real Good Kitchen, but with the goal of supporting local entrepreneurs and promoting healthy food access. She’s also working with Jessica Carr to start a non-profit Knox Asian-American and Pacific Islander Business Association with the goal of providing resources to support local Asian-American and Pacific Islander entrepreneurs. They’ve already done three night markets at Hi-Wire and they have more ideas to come, including grant programs and educational programs.
She said the two of them have had a great experience with the owners at Marble City Market from the very beginning and Josh is happy to continue working with them. They were the first vendors to sign on with the Market and they operated a food truck for a month to get the word out leading up to its opening. One of the ownership group came out to support them on their first day operating as a food truck and she said they have been supportive ever since, so Josh is happy to continue there.
And there could be even more later on. She said the flavors developed at Seoul Brothers have proven so popular, there are longer-term plans for her and Josh to market consumer packaged goods. “We want to launch a brand called Kyong’s Kimchi.” Kyong is their mother’s name and the two already have branding ready to go. “The kimchi was her recipe and Josh learned it from her. It’s the basis for the whole Seoul Brother’s menu. The plan will be to package that and sell it wholesale. A lot of the sauces will find its way into bottles.”
They are hoping for a late June or early July opening for Pasta Vivo.