Charm City Creatives: Phil Han

Charm City Creatives

Baltimore amazes me for more reasons that I can count, but one large reason is the people who give this city life. I feel like I leave meetings, casual gatherings, and networking events feeling more inspired than ever before. I leave with a million more ideas than I walked in the door with and can feel the energy rippling through my body as new ideas spark in my brain.

There are many creative individuals and I feel so incredibly lucky that I’m able to work with these people in a professional and personal setting both through my career with Waterfront Partnership and also through this outlet which is just for fun.

One of my goals for growing Soup of the Day blog in 2016 was to interview someone. When I wrote down the goal I had no idea whether that would be a business owner, my boyfriend, or a family member. I just wanted to introduce my readers to someone REAL in my life who I valued.

The idea has slowly conceptualized into an introduction to Charm City business owners who I look up to as my mentors, enjoy working with, and feel need to be showcased because of their immense talent!

Up first in the Charm City Creatives series is a man who I met just days after starting my career with Waterfront Partnership and whom I feel is one of the most easy going, creative, and strategic business owners I know.

Phil Han, owner of Dooby’s and Sugarvale in Mt.Vernon is driven, not afraid to take risks and has an eye for detail that allows him to stand out.

Phil attended Babson College where his entrepreneurial skills were tested during his freshman year. He was tasked with creating a business alongside 30 of his classmates that would make the most money from January to April. He and his classmates came up with an idea to make Livestrong bracelets (this was at their height). The project was so successful that it generated the most funds any class had seen since the project was instituted.

He went on to work in the tech industry with a notable company, Thrillist. After a few years with Thrillist in NYC he decided to move back home to Baltimore.

After coming home, Phil missed the amenities that he could easily get in New York City. He wanted good coffee, tasty and affordable food, craft beers, and cocktails in a cool space. The idea of Dooby’s was born and the restaurant opened in Fall of 2013.


Dooby’s offers Korean-American cuisine in a cool space that makes you want to sit down and hang out for a while. My personal favorite is the Korean fried rice, pork buns, and chili edamame. Fun fact: Did you know that the pork buns are Phil’s favorite item on the menu and that Dooby’s makes them by hand? It is a tedious and time consuming process that not all restaurants are able to commit to, but it’s easy to taste the love that goes into each delicious bun.


But Phil isn’t just a business owner. He is a creator, a dreamer, a do-er, a risk taker, a go-getter, and a mentor. There’s a spark to Phil that is impossible to put into words. Three drafts later I still can’t find words that are accurate or powerful enough to describe him. There’s an energy and excitement that he puts into everything whether it’s an event, a menu item, or a conversation.

In my opinion, Phil is the epitome of an entrepreneur and small business owner. He is in a million places at once, takes chances, connects with folks he supports and believes in, and makes one hell of a great product. He attributes his success to a few key principles:

  1. Surrounding yourself with the right team
  2. Knowing your limitations
  3. Finding people who push you to be a better version of yourself
  4. Trying concepts that are unknown but are worth the risk
  5. Staying true to yourself

Phil’s latest venture, a charcuterie and cocktail bar named Sugarvale, opened in the Summer of 2015 and has shown great success as well. The restaurant was initially introduced as a pop-up space but now serves as a great spot to enjoy a cocktail or brunch on the weekend.


Whether he’s making hot chocolate for an ice rink opening, serving cocktails at an industry event, or brainstorming a new foodie event series, Phil dives into every task or project with passion. It’s hard to leave a meeting with Phil not feeling like you can do anything and everything you put your mind to.

When I asked Phil what pushes him to keep hustling; his response was perfection, “It’s the feeling that there’s nothing else you’d rather do than this one thing. Nothing else makes sense until you do this one thing. It’s the feeling and sense of confidence and conviction in what you’re about to do.” If that doesn’t make you feel inspired, I don’t know what will.

You can vist Doobys at 802 N Charles Street and Sugarvale at 4 W Madison Street Baltimore MD

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  • Macy Volpe

    This was such an awesome post, I love the format! I have never been to Doobys or Sugarvale but it looks like I need to try them out. I might even say hi to Phil because I feel like I know him now 😉

    • Megan

      YES! Blate at Doobys would be amazing! Girl get ready because I’ve got some really cool people lined up for this series :)

  • Christine Everyday

    This is such a great series idea! I love getting to know about creatives and Doobys sounds amazing.

    • Megan

      You should definitely go check them out- the food is amazing!

  • Annie

    What an awesome idea for a series, girl! I love it! The unique thing about Baltimore is that it’s a large city, but can often feel like a small neighborhood and this series totally captures that. Everyone is so down to earth. I agree with Macy, maybe we should have a blate at one of those and we can meet Phil! (; hahaha

    • Megan

      Thanks boo! I’m really excited about some of the upcoming interviews and folks that I’ll be featuring as well! I know- Baltimore seemed sooo big when I moved here and now it feels so little, but I love it! Yes yes yes, Dooby’s blate needs to happen!