- His son said that Jung Park was diagnosed with stage four cancer after opening a restaurant in Las Vegas.
- TikToker Keith Lee reviewed the Korean restaurant after hearing it was struggling.
- Lee’s review brought attention to the restaurant, which has gone from 20 to 100 customers a day.
TikToker Keith Lee said his review of a family-run restaurant in Las Vegas has led to nearly $30,000 in donations from strangers who want to help the owner, who has stage four cancer, keep the business afloat.
Lee — who often creates content by tasting food from small businesses — Share TikTok on February 26 where he said he was inspired to review Dynamite Korean Street Food & Sushi / Grill After an employee named Reggy sends him an email to share the story of its owner, Jong Park.
In the clip, which has 11.3 million views as of Saturday, Lee says he recently opened Dynamite but has been struggling in the wake of Jong’s cancer diagnosis.
He told me “The email said, in my own words, ‘I am an employee here at this family owned business. We opened two weeks ago. It was just too slow.” “The owner, right after learning he had a dream of owning a restaurant, was diagnosed with stage 4 neck cancer and still turns up and cooks every day.”
In his video, Lee said he spent $79.50 on food at the restaurant—he asked in a deep voice to conceal his identity—and while he waited, he spoke to the owner’s son, Steve. According to Lee, Steve told him business was slow, with about 20 customers a day stopping by on average.
A TikToker went on to review the food he ordered, which included Galbi short ribs, japcha, and bulgogi. In his video, Lee suggested that certain foods could have benefited from the addition of different sauces, and rated the dishes, giving more than seven to nine points out of 10.
Soon after Lee posted his review on TikTok, things started to change for the Park family
Speaking to Insider, Steve said he found it hard to describe how grateful he and his family are to Lee for highlighting their struggles.
Prior to Lee’s TikTok, Steve said his family had considered going bankrupt several times. He added that he himself had invested a “massive” $200,000 in credit cards that were maxed out, and that his parents had invested their life savings in order to buy the restaurant and keep it running when it opened.
“I’m over the financial burden and the exorbitant stress,” said Steve. “This really helps our family and my dad get some peace of mind.”
Since the review, he said the number of customers per day on average has jumped to between 80 and 120, with sales rising from $800 to $1,000 per day to between $2,000 and $3,000.
But since business has picked up so much, they had to create a 30-40 minute queue because Steve’s mom and dad, even with his condition, are still the only ones cooking in the kitchen.
“My parents still need more chefs on staff, so we’re actively working on that and hiring them, but it’s going to take time,” he said. “We still work 15-17 hours a day with 2-3 hours of sleep. It’s very challenging but we feel so grateful for the opportunity to serve delicious food to customers.”
in A TikTok was uploaded to the restaurant’s account on Mondaywhich has more than 2.2 million views as of Saturday, Steve showed viewers clips of his father getting treatment for cancer.
“It wasn’t easy for us,” Steve said in the video. “We are first generation immigrants coming to America to achieve the American Dream. And I wanted to do everything we could to open this new restaurant, which we did. When we gave up all hope, Keith Lee gave us a great review and revived our restaurant, saving my father and our business from collapse.”
Given the number of Lee’s followers who have reached out wanting to help, Steve said he created a GoFundMe Fundraising page that will help run the business and pay Jung’s medical bills. Nearly $31,150 has been raised as of Saturday.
Describing his GoFundMe page, Steve writes that his family spent six months worrying about how to pay the $8,000-per-month restaurant rent as well as Jung’s medical expenses.
Steve shared more updates about his father’s treatment and the restaurant on TikTok, including video From Thursday where he said they decided to close the restaurant for a week every three weeks through May so that Jong would not have to work while he was undergoing chemotherapy.
The Park family restaurant has gone from about five followers on TikTok to more than 80,000
Lee shared an update on TikTok On Monday, the day after he posted his review of the restaurant. In the clip, which has more than 2.4 million views as of Saturday, Lee says he spoke to Steve on the phone about the restaurant’s growing popularity.
“God is amazing,” he told me. “I appreciate him and thank everyone who traveled there and everyone who was really friendly.”
Lee also shared screenshots of the restaurant’s TikTok followers before and after his review, explaining how the number jumped from less than five to more than 20,000 the next day. As of Saturday, Dynamite Korean Street Food & Sushi/Grill has nearly 81,400 followers on the platform.
Keith Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.
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