This SF Espresso Store Proprietor Has Reached TikTok Stardom as ‘Your Korean Dad’
Nick Cho, co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, is best known locally for third wave coffee, which is served in two beautiful cafes in Cow Hollow and Berkeley. But the barista has found a completely different personality and community online – Cho has an extremely popular TikTok account called “Your Korean Dad” pretending to be … your father. The account has just reached a major milestone for the social media network: Cho now has 2 million followers on TikTok who watch him make cheese ramyun or buy snacks at Walgreens.
For those unfamiliar with TikTok, which is relatively new to the US, isn’t it as strange as it sounds? TikTok leans towards a younger audience, and there are plenty of kids, including Cho’s own teenage daughters (15 years old who thinks this is adorable and 17 years old, just slightly annoyed). In addition to dance and lip-syncing memes, view videos of a TikToker pretending to be your aunt or best friend are very common. Cho first introduced this character in April and quickly found his audience. He had a million followers by November. Two months later that doubled.
“Some people have said he’s the new Mister Rogers,” says Cho. “And it’s super difficult for me because Mr. Rogers was one of my heroes.” The videos are cute and simple, only a dad does everyday things with his kids. He buys bagels from Costco (1.7 million views). He is learning to longboard (3.3 million views). He’ll give you the new iPhone and make you a cup of coffee. This time he found $ 30 fancy grapes and had to try them. “Fully sweet. Really grapey. I think these are the best grapes I’ve ever had.” (10 million views.)
Cho wanted to connect with and engage with people, but never thought that this would be the path to fame. “I’ve come across a lot of people who feel so emotional and impactful just having a caring father figure on a screen,” he says. And in these heartwarming videos, he hopes to normalize the multicultural and bring in some subtle messages. He buys tampons for his daughters like it’s no big deal. He tells LGBTQ + children that they love and see them.
It is definitely not a grocery account. So if you’re specifically looking for restaurant recommendations in the Bay Area, check out Millie Lai (@ millie.lai) or Tim Cheung (@bayareafoodies) as well. But “Your Korean Dad” loves to eat, and the locals might spot some of their favorites: Beef Pho from Kevin’s Irving Street Noodle (“Wiggle the Noodles A Little”). A crispy duck Banh Mi and a short lesson on colonialism from Mr Bánh Mì. Oh, and it takes you to the most beautiful Taco Bell in the world, which we all know is on Pacifica Beach.
“I’m here to live my life and give glimpses of a Korean-American household, and my wish is to normalize those things,” says Cho. Look forward to an upcoming episode on roller skates.