‘Cupbop’ is bringing its Korean barbecue in a cup to Tucson

"bop on by for a new taste adventure."

During a televised airing on May 2022, after an intense bidding war on “Shark Tank,” Jung Song and Dok Kwon settled with Mark Cuban’s enticing offer. The Utah-based Korean barbecue company, Cupbop, has been around much longer than that, though, starting out as a food truck in 2013.

Veggie Bop at Cupbop (Photo courtesy of Cupbop)

Veggie Bop at Cupbop (Photo courtesy of Cupbop)

Now, after opening multiple spots in six U.S. states, the “crazy food truck guys” who serve fast-service bibimbap are opening their very first Tucson location.

Geographically, Cupbop is moving into the 1,454-square-foot space that formerly housed a Starbucks at 4811 E. Grant Rd. #113. There’s still no official opening date but the renovations are already underway.

Cupbop at the Crossroads Festival shopping center (Photo by Matt Sterner)

Cupbop at the Crossroads Festival shopping center (Photo by Matt Sterner)

As mentioned earlier, Song and Kwon are often referred to as the “crazy food truck guys” mainly because of their evolving menu and sense of humor. For instance, their goal is to “overtake Panda Express just like a tiger would overtake a panda,” and one of their earliest company slogans was “Eat Cupbop, poop gold.”

You get the picture.

So, as of late, the fast-food joint has been making a name for itself after expanding out of its food truck and branching into brick-and-mortar locations. Food & Wine magazine recently named Cupbop Utah’s top quick-service restaurant in its “Best Fast Food in Every State” list (Eegee’s also made the list for Arizona).

Here’s how the menu works:

The Tucson menu has yet to be released but if it’s anything like the other locations it’ll have at least 10 different bowls to choose from.

Served with rice, cabbage mix, and noodles, you have the option to pick your protein and then a spice level. There’s also an option that allows you to choose two proteins or veggies.  It’s pretty simple after that — “mix the bowl and enjoy the simple and delicious Cupbop.”

(Photo courtesy of Cupbop)

(Photo courtesy of Cupbop)

This includes options like the Ugly Pop Bop, which is a Korean-style fried chicken, and then the Piggy Bop looks like a winner with its Korean-style barbecue pork. They also have a few vegetarian options like the Veggie Bop (Korean-style veggies), the Noodle Bop (Korean-style sweet potato noodles), and the Doochi Bop (fried tofu). If you’re seeking something gluten-free, they’ve got GF noodles on deck.

When it comes to side dishes, you’ve got Mandoo (deep-fried potstickers), Kimchi (spicy cabbage), and a KKO KKO Stick (fried chicken skewer).

At the moment, other Arizona locations include two spots in Phoenix, one in Mesa, and another at the Westgate center in Glendale.

Keep an eye out for an exact opening date as the interior construction continues.

Cupbop is located at 4811 E. Grant Rd. #113. For more information and to keep up with the latest, visit cupbop.com or follow Cupbop on Instagram.

At a very young age, Matt was gifted with the artistic ability to masterfully roll a burrito to the highest of standards.