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BonChon restaurant to open at former Kelly’s Roast Beef location in Allston


A BonChon chicken restaurant is in line to take over the former Kelly’s Roast Beef restaurant space at the intersection of Harvard and Commonwealth avenues in Allston, according to officials from the South Korean chain and the property's landlord.

The 5,000-square-foot space, vacant since late last year, would become home to the second BonChon location in the neighborhood, about a quarter mile walk from one at 123 Brighton Ave. that became the franchise’s first in New England when it opened late 2010.

The restaurant's lease for the new spot is still pending bank and landlord approval, according to Carl Valeri, president and chief operating officer of The Hamilton Co., which owns the property. If the approval process goes smoothly, the restaurant is expected to open this fall.

Like the other Allston location, the new restaurant would serve alcohol, pending approval of a deal to transfer a liquor license from another Boston restaurant.

In mid December, the family-run Kelly's restaurant chain shuttered its Allston restaurant, which was the newest of its six locations in Massachusetts.

BonChon has 18 locations in the United States, including one in Cambridge, according to the company's website. There are about a dozen in South Korea and nearly 30 others across the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

Allston Village Main Streets director Alana Olsen learned of BonChon's plans at a community meeting this week.

She said that the addition of a second BonChon location such a short block away highlights how the neighborhood is home to a host of Korean restaurants and other Korean-owned businesses, including the Boston Korea newspaper.

Listing them out one-by-one, she said there about nine pizza restaurants in Allston Village and an equal number of Korean eateries.

The neighborhood is known by many for its dense population of college students.

“That’s true,” Olsen said. “But this is definitely a destination for Boston’s Korean population, too.”

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