DK Lee, the owner of South Austin Japanese and Korean restaurant and karaoke spot DK Sushi, died this month, according to the restaurant’s website, which offers no further details. Eater has reached out for more information.
Lee, who was originally from South Korea, moved to Austin in the mid-1970s and opened the first DK Sushi on South First Street in 1991. He followed that with the Brentwood location on North Lamar Boulevard in 2009. Lee is survived by his wife, Anna, and three children.
DK Sushi is known for hosting raucous karaoke nights (Monday nights at the south location and Thursday nights at the north location) where Lee would make raunchy jokes, lead sake bomb-drinking cheers, and hit a gong to play off poor singers. James Moody, owner of downtown concert venue Mohawk and co-founder of music and food festival Hot Luck, called the restaurant’s disco karaoke night a “must” in his recommendations for people visiting Austin.
The restaurant’s north location closed in 2020 citing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The south location remains open, with a statement on the website that “our family will continue his legacy!”
For further reading on Lee’s impact, browse this Reddit thread where users are sharing their favorite memories of him.