Inside Okki Tokki, a new Korean bowl concept in downtown Baton Rouge

It’s just what downtown needed: a new Korean restaurant and a build-your-own bowl experience. Okki Tokki opened April 1 at 549 Main St., in the space formerly home to The Jambalaya Shoppe. Owner Kimberly Szuszka says she wanted to introduce Baton Rouge to authentic Korean culture and cuisine. 

“Okki Tokki is a play on ‘okie dokie,’ which I picked up from my mom, who’s Korean. That is where this whole thing started,” Szuszka says. “Growing up, she would always cook Korean food and always have certain Korean things around, and I wanted something in town that has that too.”  

The customizable bowls start with a base of noodles, greens or two choices of rice. Protein offerings range from Korean fried chicken bites to Korean braised beef and stir-fried shrimp to fried tofu. Guests can then mix in veggies such as pickled daikon, roasted corn or kimchi slaw and coat everything in sauces like soy-tahini or gochujang-based dressings. Toppings like crispy garlic, toasted chili sesame oil, sesame seeds and marinated egg add the final touches of texture.  

An Okki Tokki bowl with garlic fried rice and Korean fried chicken bites.

Each time they visit, Szuszka hopes patrons will experiment with different Korean staples—think: japchae sweet potato noodles, gochujang or Mandu fried dumplings.

Green is a lucky color in Korea, and Okki Tokki is filled with it. The dining area walls are awash in a soothing sage, and a tropical wallpaper frames the menu signs behind the front counter.

The restaurant’s smaller footprint and to-go concept means limited seating capacity, but there is space for about 25 people. Customers can gaze out at Main Street from window-facing high-tops, or they can plop down on a couch in a lounge-y corner and admire the Korean-inspired art on the wall. Group seating at a large rectangular table is staged in front of a greenery wall and neon sign, ripe for a photo op. 

“I wanted a space where people could hang out, even though it’s not big. I wanted it to be a cozy space,” Szuszka says. “I really wanted it to be homey, but different.” 

Small space or not, Szuszka says word-of-mouth quickly spread on the restaurant’s opening day, with around 50 people cycling through during its first hours in business.

“Being able to share (this) with Baton Rouge has been a joy so far,” Szuszka says. 

Fried Mandu dumplings.

Okki Tokki is at 549 Main St. in downtown Baton Rouge. Its current hours are Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

For more information, follow Okki Tokki on Instagram.