Meet Bob Graff. He is a 70-year-old American who runs a cafe called “Uncle Bob” in the rural South Korean city of Gangneung.
You may recognize Gangneung from the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Many of the events were held at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
“Uncle Bob” is actually located near the entrance of the Gangneung Ice Arena!
“Uncle Bob” has been around for over 2 years. It is a local favorite because people, young and old, can come and enjoy the comfortable atmosphere, friendly service and delicious blends of coffee!
Bob was born in Minnesota. He first came to Korea in 1969 with the United States Army, where he served for a year. He went back to the US but decided to return to Korea with the Peace Corps in 1970. He volunteered in the city of Yeonggwang in the Jeolla Province for over 2 years and fell in love with the country.
Realizing the importance of education, Bob went back to the States and got his Master’s degree. However, his love for the country never faded, and Bob returned to Korea in 1995 and started working as an IT consultant for a major Korean corporation until his retirement.
In 2007, Bob became a naturalized Korean citizen (humorously enough, on July 4th, which is America’s Independence Day) and moved to his wife’s hometown of Gangneung.
Bob and his wife did end up moving once due to the construction of the Gangneung Ice Arena. However, the couple was able to find the perfect home, and this home is now the location of their cafe, “Uncle Bob.”
Bob is also beloved by the people because he gives back to the community. Whenever he has free time, Bob will teach English to the taxi drivers of Gangneung!
He wants to emphasize that he’s not living in Korea for the coffee but for its people.
“It’s not the coffee. It’s the people.” — Uncle Bob
Check out an interview with Uncle Bob below: