At Soko Bag, Korean Comfort Food Meets Craft Beer

The line may be long, but the twice-fried chicken, enticing sauces and fresh beers are well worth the wait.

soko bag fried chicken

Korean fried chicken with an assortment of dipping sauces at Soko Bag / Photograph by Shea Roggio

When Soko Bag first opened in January of this year in the old Sal’s Pizza Box on Nutt Road in Phoenixville, the lines snaked out the door and into the parking lot. The smallish hybrid sports bar, local brewery and Korean fried chicken joint with a mural of Philly sports heroes done in the style of da Vinci’s Last Supper­ was ordering chicken­ (boneless thighs, all dark meat) a thousand pounds at a time. They’d feed waiting customers salty bagged snacks and hand out (generously sized) tasters of the house beers just to keep people from going nuts (or walking out). The line would start forming in the afternoon. And the kitchen sold out a lot.

Things have calmed down a little since those heady early days, but co-owner Shea Roggio will still pull a short draft for anyone at the bar waiting too long on a takeout order (as he has done for me before), or offer a taste of something new the kitchen is working on.

Burning an afternoon here is like chilling out in a buddy’s man-cave, with the vintage Coke machine and Philly sports on every TV — if that buddy also happened to have a professional kitchen setup and had spent years working out how to make killer Korean fried chicken alongside his Korean-born wife. Because that’s what Roggio did. He and his wife, Alice Chang, developed the recipes in South Korea with Chang’s mom, held pop-ups here in Philly to make sure people would actually like the stuff, then launched Soko Bag to those overflow crowds.



Soko Bag
95 Nutt Road, Phoenixville

CUISINE: Korean fried chicken and beer


Order This: The snow chicken, wasabi cucumber sauce on the side, and some extra, because the leftovers are good cold.

The base-model chicken is made with imported bamboo salt and twice-fried and comes out juicy and crisp, but with some chew to it that I like. You order by the pound, the half-pound, all boneless, like getting Korean fried chicken fingers. The snow chicken is the real winner here — same pieces, but generously caked in powdered white cheddar cheese that melts into the jacket of batter and gives a slick, slightly sour, heavy umami kick to every bite.

The kitchen offers sauces — a kimchi aioli that’s gentle but with a lace of ferment that matches well with the bamboo salt, a gochujang that comes off like a spicy KC barbecue, and blue cheese if that’s your thing. The wasabi cucumber sauce? Paired with an order of snow chicken and a house-branded Basement Blonde ale? That’s the game. It’s sharp and stinging, cooling and smooth against the hot, cheesed-up chicken, and there’s such a simple, stupid joy in it that you’ll totally get why people would stand around in a parking lot, waiting in line.

3 Stars — Come from anywhere in Philly

Rating Key
0 stars: stay away
★: come if you have no other options
★★: come if you’re in the neighborhood
★★★: come from anywhere in Philly
★★★★: come from anywhere in America

Published as “Patience Is a Virtue” in the July 2024 issue of Philadelphia magazine.