The Korean Fox

Poughkeepsie, NY – Every Marist student has a favorite place to eat near campus; they get hungry a lot of the time. And when they do, they turn to one man to fill up their stomachs – Steve Lee.

Steve Lee or his Korean name Seungmin Lee, owns the Red Fox Eatery located on 11 Marist Drive in Poughkeepsie. There are sandwiches, wraps, and salads that are all over the menu, even teriyaki chicken; Steve’s favorite sandwich is the “Hot 17”.

Lee has come a long way from opening the Red Fox Eatery. He was born in South Korea, a country with strong ties to the United States.   In South Korea, there is a mandatory military service of two years (three years when Lee served) for all males in the country that have completed their high school requirements and have no medical issues. Lee served his three years as a secretary soldier for the chain of command.

In this position he learned how to properly cook and work in a kitchen even though it was not his primary objective. “I prepared meals for officers, it was not my job, but I was willing to learn so I was involved in the kitchen” Lee said almost excitingly. He also developed a great work ethic that has followed him ever since “I would come a half hour earlier in the kitchen, see what is going on, I would do the prep work, learn knife skill(s), chopping and cleaning” Lee said, as college students started walking into the store past 9pm on a Friday night.

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Lee came to the United States at 25, after he completed his military service. He felt suitably prepared to open his deli after learning the skills in the military. Before the Red Fox Eatery, he owned shops at West Point, New Windsor, and Stewart Airport. West Point and Stewart Airport are military bases and Lee liked that because of his military background even though he claims that the Red Fox Eatery is his favorite place he has owned so far.

He has two kids at Marist College, one is enrolled in the ROTC program. Lee told me he loves this country despite being born in another country and it is fairly obvious he loves being a red fox too.

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