The Cloudy Garlic Restaurant opened in Eagle Rock Oct. 6 and has been developing and perfecting a variety of Asian fusion dishes in its first month. Owner Danny Yoo said he opened the restaurant the day after he finished 10 years of service in the U.S. Army.
“As soon as I finished my military life, I wanted to do something fun and active, which is how I chose the restaurant business,” Yoo said.
The current menu offers American food with Asian flavors, including Korean barbecue sandwiches and green curry bratwursts. These dishes use spice combinations Yoo developed during his last vacation in Asia.
According to Sarah Morales, an Eagle Rock High School student who is a prep cook at The Cloudy Garlic, a lot of that flavor comes from garlic and onion.
“[Onions] are in a lot of things,” Morales said. “Garlic is in everything.”
According to Vanessa Sandobal, a cashier, the restaurant takes pride in its signature garlic onion bread.
Everything the restaurant sells is made in-house, including their patties and meatballs, according to Yoo.
“It takes about five hours to prep everything because we make everything from scratch,” Yoo said.
Yoo’s favorite part of opening The Cloudy Garlic has been developing recipes for the menu. He said that he also loves seeing the way customers react to his food. Yoo adjusts the menu based on customer comments, and he tries to talk to everyone who sits down to eat.
“We change the menu very often, sometimes every day or every other day. I just want to see how my customers like it,” Yoo said.
Customer service was one aspect of The Cloudy Garlic that customer Jericho Trinidad said impressed him when he went to the restaurant within its first week of opening.
“They asked me if everything was all right and if I wanted to change anything, because I guess they’re still changing stuff,” Trinidad said. “They were all really nice.”
Yoo is not certain what the menu will evolve to look like as he experiments with recipes in the future. He says that the name Cloudy Garlic represents his current culinary style while leaving room for change.
“In the future, I don’t know what kind of food we are going to serve, so that’s why I put the ‘cloudy’ in front,” Yoo said.
The restaurant’s menu also changes seasonally, and according to Sandobal, it currently has lots of vegetable sides.
“We have sweet potato tots, zucchini [fries], yucca fries,” Sandobal said. “Everyone —when they hear about yucca fries — they say, ‘I need some,’ and they fall in love with it.”
Trinidad is vegetarian, and he said that the number of vegetarian options on the menu surprised him. He said he particularly enjoyed the vegetable fries.
“For a restaurant to just open up and have a vegan or a vegetarian option is very considerate,” Trinidad said.
Yoo said that having a significant number of vegetarian options was not his original intention. He is a self-proclaimed “meat person,” but his mother is vegetarian and he likes to cook for her. She enjoys garlicky food — the menu, to some extent, developed around her favorite dishes.
The shop not only has a wide variety of options on the menu, but in the drinks cooler as well — the restaurant rotates 300 different kinds of sodas through the cases out front, which hold 60 types at a time, according to Yoo. He said that his favorite of those 300 is Sarsaparilla.
According to first-time customer Alicia Babbs, it was not the vegetarian or soda options that impressed her but rather the outside appearance.
“It’s the look of it that drew me in,” Babbs said.
The outside of the restaurant is painted black and white, with a sign displaying the restaurant’s name, phone number and white garlic logo. The large front windows are partially covered by black silhouettes of trees, and from inside, they let in light that reflects off clean metal tables. The kitchen is open, which makes the space feel large and allows guests to watch as their food is prepared.
Trinidad agreed that the restaurant was thoughtfully marketed to the public.
“I think that one of the things that made me really enjoy the restaurant was how thought-out their brand was. First of all, the name ‘The Cloudy Garlic’ is amazing,” Trinidad said. “And their interior was really cool too.”
Babbs, an Eagle Rock resident, said that she was happy to see another new shop that is not a chain, which she said gets boring. She said she was excited to see a new restaurant that offers different kinds of food and introduces her to a different culture.
Trinidad said the shop fills a void in the culinary community of higher-quality sandwiches and burgers, and that he is thankful for more local options.
“I always love eating around Eagle Rock because I feel like this area has all I need, and I love supporting businesses around me,” Trinidad said.
The Cloudy Garlic is located at 2750 Colorado Blvd Suite 4 and is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily.