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GK Mongolian BBQ grills up in Turlock
In Business pic
Daniel Santillan of GK Mongolian BBQ cooks a customers meal on the restaurants large grill, which is meant to represent the shields of legendary Mongolian warriors. - photo by ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal

Type of business: Mongolian restaurant


Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Location: 2300 W. Monte Vista Ave.


Contact information: 209-427-2011


Specialty: Fresh, simple ingredients


History of business:

When Matt Shih decided it was time to open GK Mongolian BBQ’s seventh location, he knew Turlock would be the perfect spot.

“We liked the university area,” said Shih. “This area in general is really busy and it seems like Turlock has grown a lot, so it seemed like the next logical thing.”

GK Mongolian BBQ’s first restaurant in Stockton fell into the Shih family’s hands nearly 30 years ago. Shih’s parents both worked at the location, and decided to take the reins when the owners announced they were going out of business. From there, Shih and his brother Alan were introduced to the business and began to expand it in their adult years, opening restaurants in Tracy, Modesto, Manteca and Roseville as well.

The restaurant offers authentic, Mongolian cuisine that can be custom created to each customer’s taste. With anywhere from 14 to 20 different types of vegetables and four varieties of meat at the food bar, customers can produce countless combinations in their barbecue bowls which are then cooked in front of them on a large grill.

“It’s very personalized,” said Shih. “You can come in and be vegetarian, vegan, paleo or whatever you want. That’s what’s cool about it – you have your own choice.”

According to Shih, ancient Mongolian legends tell of warriors who left the battlefield with aching hunger pains. To appease their appetites, the warriors would flip their shields over large campfires and cook their meals on the metal surface. The 48-inch grill used at GK Mongolian BBQ symbolizes the shields of Mongolian warriors from long ago.

“That’s what they supposedly used to do so that’s what we’re doing,” said Shih.

The best part about GK Mongolian BBQ is their all-natural menu, said Shih. As other restaurants begin to advertise their non-GMO menus, GK Mongolian has provided a healthy option all along. Many of their sauces are made from scratch, including a teriyaki sauce and lobster sauce, which are created fresh daily.

“We never thought of advertising it because it’s always been natural to us,” said Shih. “We don’t put anything weird in the food or the sauces we use.”

Shih called the restaurant’s opening GK Mongolian BBQ’s “busiest opening so far,” and has high hopes for the location’s new home.

“We’re excited and happy to be in Turlock and bring some diversity to the food here.”