Cafe Review: Cafe Onion, Gwangjang Market



I found the fourth Onion.”

paste up poster advertising Cafe Onion; on top there’s a white piece of paper that reads “Missing: My Crazzy Pizza Pie, (Picture taken 3 minutes ago) Last seen in my hand. He is a child who is familiar to everyone because he is crispy and sweet. He disappeared, leaving only small crumbs and jam in my hand. If you see him, tell him I’m happy cause of him and please tag me.”

I had seen the Instagram posts about a fourth Cafe Onion but assumed, due to the location of the place and the photos they posted, that it would be a pop-up location or that it would be some time until it opened.

You can’t blame me. The Cafe Onion Gwangjang instagram is full of close-up, cropped shots of various building materials. It led to a very real “under construction” feel.

Cafe Onion, an open corner along the street, with two benches and tape-covered plastic stools

I was headed to Gwangjang Market to grab some lunch before a Blue Bottle tasting and noticed the Onion signage on a pillar just outside the market.

I was actually, legitimately, surprised by the location of this Onion. It’s tucked away in a corner to one of the entrances to the market and the seating is a couple of benches and plastic stools covered in Onion branded packing tape (which is purchasable because … [goddamn] capitalism). There is a single ledge where you can place your drinks.

handwritten menu on a piece of cardboard taped to the wall

The menu is handwritten on a piece of cardboard and stuck to the wall with the previously mentioned packing tape. The signature drink here is a hazelnut latte, which I didn’t try, and the pastry selection was a slice of a strawberry pastry pizza pie, which I also didn’t try but c’mon, I’m totally going back here so there’s time.

There is no register, just a cute boy with a card reader. The espresso machine’s body is transparent so you can see its inner workings. (Is it this way on the barista-facing side, I wonder?) All of their supplies are on shelves along the back of the space, which is also adorned with mirrors, leading the place to feel a little bigger than it actually is. I am unsure what the original location was (perhaps a jeweler, based on photos from their Instagram account) but they bought the place from someone who had worked in and run the business for 60 years.

“The Onion seeks to give stores the attributes that can have meaningful conversations with existing situations to increase the extent of its intervention. When we see what already exists in a new perspective, we see satisfactory results.”

“There’s an Onion in the street full of bean soup, kalguksu, tteokbokki, and bakery. This place is full of vibrant, native, vintage, and serene beauties that The Onion adores. Wanted to blend in… it’s full of materials and materials used in the square market. Tape, plastic chairs, etc. From the perspective of recycling, we actively used the materials left in the 60-year-old gold room. … touched old wood and made it into a bar with the hands of the artist and focused on emptying rather than adding.

“Before signing the contract, many things seemed easy, but now I have a deep concern. What’s the Onion supposed to do here?”

– Papago translations from Onion Gwangjang’s Instagram

Cafe Onion, you’re just supposed to be here, vibing in this awesome space and making awesome coffee. That’s all.

a fold-out detailing the Onion’s pairing of drinks to various food stands in Gwangjang Market

Like what you see? Buy me a coffee!

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