Simon Kim

Simon Kim is the CEO and Founder of Gracious Hospitality Management, the brand behind the Michelin-starred COTE Korean Steakhouse in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, Miami’s Design District, Singapore, as well as the bespoke cocktail lounge Undercote, COQODAQ, the brand’s new fried chicken concept and a multi-level project at 550 Madison Avenue in New York in the works.

Born in Seoul, Kim began his hospitality career at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, while studying Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada. He would go on to lead the front-of-house teams for notable chefs, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller, and open his first Michelin-starred restaurant, Piora, at the age of 31. 

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Simon opened COTE in 2017, New York City’s first Korean steakhouse and the only Michelin-starred Korean tabletop grill restaurant in the world, an honor now shared by COTE Miami following its breakthrough first year in the city’s Design District. COTE quickly earned numerous accolades within its first few months, including GQ’s Best New Restaurants in America, two stars from The New York Times and New York Magazine, James Beard Foundation Award nominations, and semifinalist nods for Best New Restaurant and Outstanding Wine List. In January 2024, Simon’s vision for Gracious Hospitality Management expanded even further with the opening of COQODAQ, his newest concept focused on creating better fried chicken, along with the opening of COTE Singapore, the brand’s first international outpost housed within COMO Orchard.

An Associate Board Member of the National Restaurant Association, EY Entrepreneur of the Year New York 2022 winner, Crain’s 40 under 40 honoree, and recipient of the Next Generation Award from the NYC Hospitality Alliance and the 2023 Inspiration Award from Apex for Youth, Simon is not only a leader in the industry known for his creative and polished execution but one that is passionate about support local Asian American communities. In 2021, Simon founded Taste of Asia, an annual tasting event celebrating New York City’s AAPI communities. Featuring a curated selection of 40 restaurants serving Asian-inspired bites in Madison Square Park, this event honors the diversity and vitality of AAPI culture and cuisine in New York City and beyond, raising $1.2M in its inaugural year and $1.4M in 2022 for three organizations: City Harvest and Madison Square Park Conservancy,  where Simon sits on the Board of Directors, as well as Apex for Youth.