Acclaimed Chef Noel Cruz of Gangchu in historic Seminole Heights will bring a true chimaek experience in the Epicurean Theatre, with an elevated spin you won’t get elsewhere.
Pronounced “chi-mek”, the literal pairing of Korean fried chicken and beer from Korean chikin ‘fried chicken’ and maekju ‘beer’ – an epic pairing no one can deny. With a rendition on almost every culture, Korean fried chicken specifically dates back to the Joseon dynasty, yet really received notoriety for being paired with beer in 2002 during the Korea–Japan World Cup. From there, chimaek has taken off as a cultural phenomenon.
From staples like their crispy fried chicken to additional Korean street-foods, this multi-course tasting will take guests on a flavor journey abroad, each paired with hand-curated brews. Chef Noel has extensive experience running top restaurants around the country and working under some of the top celebrity chefs of our generation.
Gangchu Korean Fried Chicken (Boneless)
sweet chili garlic sauce & korean magic dry rub hot chili oil
Greenbench Postcard Pilsner
spicy savory sweet chewy rice cakes
Motorworks Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA
Noel’s take on the traditional
Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen
Noel Cruz (Gangchu, Tampa FL)
Chef Noel Cruz launched one of the most highly anticipated restaurants in the Tampa Bay area’s hottest culinary neighborhood of Seminole Heights, Ichicoro Ramen, in 2015. Since then he’s gone on to open Ichicoro Ane in Downtown St. Petersburg in December 2017; Ichicoro Imoto in Tampa’s historic Armature Works building in February 2018; c.1949 a Florida Beer Garden (Tampa); Chismis & Co. restaurant (Tampa), a celebration of his Filipino heritage; and The Corners Pizza, introducing his version of Detroit style square pizza. Gangchu Chicken & Beer, a take on Korean street food, is his latest full service concept having opened in early 2021 in Seminole Heights.
Chef Noel studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, is certified by the American Sommelier Association in Vinification & Vintification, has earned a degree and subsequently taught Classic Pastry Arts from Manhattan’s famed French Culinary Institute, and has been involved in a variety of critically acclaimed restaurant concepts in both New York and the Tampa Bay Area.
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