Betty Park opened her first restaurant in Harlem in 1984. Coming from Korea, she had heard that Harlem was a good place to start a business, but that it would be challenging. The Harlem community was not initially welcoming of the Korean influx, and the Korean business people were almost totally un-involved with the community. She made a decision to become involved with the community by hiring people who lived there to work in the restaurant. She also participated in various neighborhood programs, like sponsoring a couple of children in a YMCA after-school program, providing college scholarship assistance to two girls, and supporting Police Athletic League programs. Ms. Park also supports the activities of various churches. This involvement has not only led to a better relationship with the community and helped her business grow, but it has also changed the perception of Harlem by many of her Korean friends.
Recently, Ms. Park received an Achievement Award from the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and has been nominated to receive it again for her outstanding work in the Harlem community and with the Chamber of Commerce on 12/10/2009.