Session Kitchen opened in late 2013 at 1518 South Pearl Street, after a complicated property swap between the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group and the Kizaki brothers. In that deal, Breck-Wynkoop acquired the building at 1518 South Pearl, built as the original home of Izakaya Den; meanwhile, the Kizakis gained the space at 1477 South Pearl, right next to their flagship Sushi Den, that had been home to the Breck-Wynkoop-owned Pearl Street Grill. The brothers create a brand-new Izakaya at that address, which opened in June 2013; after that, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop group transformed the former Izakaya into Session Kitchen, filling the airy, two-story urban interior with street art and multiple bars to match its ambitious, if at times confusing, menu.
While Session was a hit on weekends, it never seemed to draw the attention of the more sedate, family-heavy neighborhood on weekdays. And now, rather than introduce a new concept there, Breckenridge-Wynkoop will close Session Kitchen on July 12 and put the building up for sale, according to CEO Lee Driscoll. "I hope someone comes in and knocks it out of the park," he adds.
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That's not the only change in the neighborhood. Across the street, Toshi and Yasu Kizaki are on the verge of re-opening Ototo at 1501 South Pearl Street. The brothers had originally opened this space as an upscale fish market called Den Deli, then turned it into Ototo before closing it altogether in 2012. The next incarnation of Ototo promises a catch-of-the-day raw bar, robata-style yakitori and small plates, whole grilled fish and Japanese noodle bowls — and yes, that means ramen, as well as udon. Ototo will also include a bar program familiar to Sushi Den devotees: sake, Japanese single-malt whiskey, boutique wines and local beers.
Construction at the site is a tip-off that Ototo will sport a new look when it opens. The Kizakis have also begun work on a parking structure on the block, which should open in December to alleviate some of the traffic crunch in the area.