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Closter Franchise Offers Korean Pastry Culture

Ryan Moon, a business owner, stands in his shop on Closter Dock Road.
Ryan Moon, a business owner, stands in his shop on Closter Dock Road. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

CLOSTER, NJ — A franchise owner in Closter hopes a favorite Korean treat, hodo gwaja, will help his business appeal to an American market.

“I grew up with this. Old guys - they remember it from their childhoods,” said Ryan Moon, a former programmer from Fort Lee who opened the West Coast-based Coco Hodo franchise with his wife, Lisa.

Hodo gwaja translates to walnut cookie or pastry, a longtime and popular Korean treat that they pair with the Klatch brand coffee.

They waited seven months to obtain permits and get the revised business codes to settle into the location.

Ryan and his wife work a machine that fills 500 to 1,000 walnut pastries with red bean mousse and walnuts before wrapping them.They also boil tapioca bubbles in two to three fresh batches a day for bubble teas. They're considering an expanded lunch menu for food-truck-style quick meals.

Moon is hoping that the new Closter Plaza construction project will bring more foot traffic, especially in the evenings.

“Palisades Park, Cliffside, Fort Lee -- they are busy after 11 or 12 at night. Here, once families go home at 6, they stay home,” he said.

“I go [to Coco Hodo] for the shaved ice,” said Rachel Hahn, a customer. “It’s nice to see a Korean place out here, and he knows his customers by name."

Moon hopes to expose the community to typical cultural cuisine by having his shop outside of the normal Korean-based customer marketplace.

"Here we are like a hybrid. People try a sample, and they are introduced to Korean culture,” he said.


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