Food & Drink

Much-loved Five Points Korean, Tex-Mex restaurant closed, owner says

The owner of Blue Cactus Cafe in Five Points says the restaurant is “closed permanently.”

In a personal social-media post Friday, Julie Ford said closing the well-regarded restaurant “was not my initial decision” but “frankly I think it’s best to walk away.”

In her post, Ford cited family and health issues.

Calls to the restaurant Saturday went unanswered.

Blue Cactus opened in 1994, according to its website. It was loved by Columbia vegetarians and Five Points regulars. Known for its Bee Bim Bob dish and other authentic Korean dishes as well as its unexpected quesadillas and burritos, the restaurant was a go-to for people looking for a distinct Columbia experience.

Ford’s droll humor was also a distinct part of the restaurant, which she jokingly promoted as “arrogantly slow” while posting a “Sorry we’re open” sign in the window at times.

On April 22, the restaurant posted it would be closed until further notice “due to a family emergency,” but it appeared to reopen in the following weeks, at least sporadically.

Friends and fans offered support and praise to Ford with her announcement.

“You are legend, your food is legend and I’m all about your next phase,” a supporter said, with another calling Ford “an inspiration.”

“I love all you chuckle heads and I will find [a] way to rise again,” Ford said.

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.