Restaurant Shifts and Shakeups
This week: A fatal shooting prompts Munchbar to close, a noted Japanese ramen chain opens in Bellevue, and several exciting developments on East Olive Way.
Kukai Ramen and Izakaya
After a few minor delays, the popular Japanese chain debuted in Bellevue shortly before Christmas—its first stateside location. According to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the ramen is “the most traditional, authentic” you can find “without actually flying to Japan.” Bold claims. The Main Street eatery is open daily from 11 to 10.
Mary Chiu, Phil Sinz, and Japonessa's Billy Beach are bringing quick-service sushi to Pioneer Square. Their 24-seat counter located at 220 First Avenue South opened December 20 and is offering rolls rare in these parts: The sushi is made with GABA rice, a sprouted brown rice that yields substantial health benefits.
Following a fatal Christmas Eve shooting at the Bellevue restaurant and bar, King 5 reports that Kemper Development Company and Munchbar owners have decided to permanently close shop. Both parties agreed it is best for all involved and those affected by the tragic events. An arrest of the shooting suspect occurred this past Wednesday.
The corner café is the latest casualty of rising rent. According to Queen Anne View co-owners Farzaneh Forouzan and husband Ali Lotsi tried to negotiate to stay on the corner of Galer and Queen Anne Avenue to no avail, and closed last Friday.
After losing its lease, the French restaurant had just three days to vacate its Leary Way storefront. My Ballard Blog shared the unexpected news after seeing an announcement on the website, which hinted at a new location: "We are scrambling to reopen very soon," it reads.
The Malaysian street food enterprise, a staple at local farmers market, is moving into Taco Gringos. Rachel Marshall and Kate Opatz, owners of neighboring bar Montana, have taken over the lease of the wee East Olive Way storefront, and recruited Kevin Burzell and Alysson Wilson as a way to feed Montana's growing crowds. Expect dishes like nasi goreng, curry and roti canai flatbread, and fried rice with egg and assorted veggies.
Also due soon on East Olive Way: a sweets counter from twin sisters Alyssa Lewis and Natalie Delucchi. Pie Bar, which will also operate a walk-up window and serve booze, is set to open in the former Saley’s location this spring, CHS reports.