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Meet Emily Kim of Over Rice

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Kim.

Hi Emily, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
College is when I got to learn what “entrepreneurship” meant. It was love at a first site my professor Betty Noble at Howard community college she showed our class a small clip of TED talk focused on young entrepreneurship. It almost feels like my stories started from there. That short video took me to specialize and major in entrepreneurship where my college University of Baltimore, graduation requirement was to have a profitable business which sounds scary, but it was more of excitement.

I opened up the first small restaurant that I had started for my parents as I wanted to build something that my parents could retire from as the first generation of immigrants. It was a struggle for the whole family and huge stress as it was difficult to find a way for our family to become stable. Long story short, luckily, the first restaurant was a home run, and I was able to have my parents retire from the first restaurant. Also, my first restaurant was where I met my business partner and co-owner of Over Rice Tomo Kora.

There was a little voice in my head whispering, “wouldn’t you need a corporate experience?” that thought was lingering in my head for the longest time, so I took a huge jump from the restaurant, and I was very fortunate to have the chance to work with one of the largest global cosmetic company in New York. Spending time eating out, I was constantly thinking, why isn’t this available back at home, and I was always discussing these topics with my business partner Tomo.

So we said one day, let’s do it. It’s a perfect time as many business locations are empty, and it’s for rent. So we took the chance to open up our small business, Over Rice. It was scary to leave our corporate, but we didn’t want to live our lives with “what-ifs.”

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We were too naive to think that we knew all the things that could go wrong so we were thinking we are more than prepared! Of course not, it was way far away from prepared mentally and financially.

Calculating the months that we thought we could open by was way delayed so we were paying our rent during our constructions. We also made our own furniture which turned out to be way too wobbly and not what we pictured in our head.

construction cost came out 40%more than what we initially had budgeted for this restaurant so that was the main reason why we decided to make our own furniture and paint our restaurant our own. Get a lot of help from our parents who worked on our plumbing and carpenter work.

Items that we had in mind for retail were not available due to the pandemic. No one wanted the part-time job surprisingly so it was a real hassle finding our first employees.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Over Rice?
First, our donuts, a lot of people have been enjoying our donuts. In the digital world, people call these donuts mochi donut or pon de ring (Japanese version). We fry them every morning making our icing fresh with actual ingredients like fresh blueberry and strawberry. We also carry interesting flavors like Yuza and corn on the cob our goal is to excite our customer’s taste buds.

Since more people are talking about us with our donuts so our poke bowls are being shadowed by the donut but our Poke also has a great selection of choices such as vegan meat we call them “Vulgogi” as it has the same taste as texture as Korean barbeque Bulgogi but it’s made with impossible meat.

There aren’t a lot of Asian cuisines that focus on vegan options so we are trying to make sure we deliver healthy options and help our customers to eat balanced meals.

What matters most to you?
Things that matter to us are one of the hardest questions to answer because there are so many things we value and matter to us. One thing we can say is that getting to know ourselves, we spend so many days and seconds to find what others like and what other people are doing now with social media, it’s more difficult to focus on “ourselves.”

Being able to have solidified foundation, therefore, we can grow stronger, understand our weaknesses and accept. It allows you to focus on what you are good at, which can only benefit you to be a stronger person inside and outside. So we can take care of the people that are surrounding us. So story short, people which includes our friends and family.


  • Single Donut 1.99
  • Half Dozen 10.99
  • Dozen 21.49
  • Two protein poke bowl 13
  • Three protein bowl 16

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