Success Stories

James & John Kim -
Sons of Thunder

Renaissance helped Sons of Thunder weather some early challenges. Now the Midtown poke restaurant is a rousing success. 

Second generation Korean Americans, James and John Kim, set out in 2015 to open a modern-style burger spot in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. In seeking out a small business loan and counseling services, they were attracted to Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) for our dedication to serving minority communities.

With REDC’s help, the Kim brothers secured a low-interest loan for renovations and equipment, and were poised to open, when they received some unsettling news. Con Edison would not be able to establish gas service until streetside repairs were made, imperiling the Kims’ business model. Showing great resourcefulness, the brothers quickly switched to a new concept, becoming the first poke (raw fish salad) restaurant in New York City.

REDC worked with the Kims’ every step of the way to make their dream a reality. Sons of Thunder has become a rousing success, helping to start a poke wave in NYC’s food world. The New York Times named the restaurant one of the top 10 “Cheap (and Astonishing) Places to Eat in 2016.” Looking back on those early struggles, James Kim says he’s thankful for REDC’s flexibility and caring attitude from the moment he walked through our doors. We feel really fortunate having met Renaissance,” Kim explains. “We feel that they’ve partnered with us from the get go.”