This fall, Jon Zipperstein and Hideki Harada toss their hats into Over-the-Rhine’s restaurant ring with
, a gastro pub and sushi bar, to the Gateway Quarter at the corner of 14th and Vine streets.
Zipperstein owns Embers, a Montgomery restaurant that serves steak, seafood and sushi; Harada was a sushi chef there when it first opened. Although he left after two years to sharpen his culinary skills, the pair remained in contact and eventually decided to open a restaurant together in OTR.
“We were just looking for a really dynamic part of town, and Over-The-Rhine certainly fit the bill,” Zipperstein says.
They opted for the Color building because it offers more than 3,500 square feet of restaurant space, plus an outdoor area where they will put a beer garden that will be partially enclosed with a fire pit.
Building owner 3CDC reports the $4.1 million renovation of the mammoth space will also feature 6,000 square feet of office space.
“If you’ve been to the building a year ago, when it was first shown to me, it was an absolute wreck,” Zipperstein says. “You had to have a great imagination to think about what it could be. And you could say the same about just about any building they work on down there. They take buildings that are in complete disrepair, that are 100 years old or more, and turn them into little gems.”
The atmosphere at Kaze will be comfortable yet urban, Zipperstein says. He and Harada like the idea of reclaiming the historic building, so they will be leaving a lot of exposed brick. Other restaurant plans include an open kitchen, so diners can take advantage of insiders’ views of meal prep.
The menu will be about 50 percent sushi/50 percent izakaya, which is Japanese style pub food—lots of small plates, grilled meats and noodle soups. Kaze will use local produce.
Their beverage selection will include traditional favorites, plus they will import Japanese beer, liquor and non-alcoholic drinks that have never before graced Cincinnati shelves.
The plan is to open the bar first around the beginning of November. Shortly after, they will serve food in the bar and open the beer garden. In December, the dining room will be open for private parties exclusively. After these soft openings, Kaze plans a grand opening in January 2013.
By Stephanie Kitchens