Washington’s first Gyu-Kaku is currently dealing with permits and hiring management, but Cecilia Gao, the Bellevue franchise owner, is aiming for a January soft open.
Gyu-Kaku is a global chain that does yakiniku, Japan's version of Korean barbecue. Diners are presented with plates of thinly sliced raw meats and then become amateur pitmasters, managing each table's small gas grill. Gyu-Kaku specializes in a variety of dry-aged, miso-brushed beef, along with dishes like sukiyaki bibimbap and something called a "spicy tuna volcano." Gao plans to expand the standard franchise menu with a few local signatures, once she gets a feel for what PNW people want.
The initial restaurant will seat 96, and tables will be equipped with the brand’s proudly touted downdraft ventilated grills, which vacuum grill smoke away from diners. Gao plans to add a patio dinning area by next summer, with electric grills at the tables.
This is the first of five planned Gyu-Kakus in the greater Seattle area. Gao is already considering a downtown Seattle location and hopes to start this expansion within the next year.
The Bellevue location will have a month-long soft opening, with dinner-only (5-11pm) hours. If all goes well, they’ll add lunches and expand their hours to 11am to 10:30pm Sunday through Thursday and 11am-midnight Friday and Saturday. Signage is already up in Bellevue at 14506 NE 20th St., and more details should come as January nears.
Though the location isn’t listed yet, you can see the menu and steep yourself in general Gyu-Kakuness on their website.