Japanese restaurants are hotter than a binchotan grill — and three new ones opened in metro Denver just this week. In Aurora, chef/restaurateur Jeff Osaka launched the fourth location of his conveyor-belt sushi eatery, Sushi-Rama. The Fitzsimons sushi bar has something that its three older siblings lack: a few of the tables have conveyor belts in the middle so that everyone seated can grab color-coded plates of sushi rolls and other bites from the kitchen. "It's easier to eat a variety of things — you don't have to order a whole roll," Osaka explains of the allure of Sushi-Rama's grab-and-eat setup. (It's so easy, in fact, that one Sushi-Rama customer ate 23 plates — a current record for the four-store chain.)
The new outpost is also offering spicy miso ramen, tempura udon, Japanese fried chicken and a house roll designed specifically for its East Colfax neighborhood. And instead of happy hour, there's a "physical therapy" hour catering to health-care workers from the nearby hospitals and offices, with drink specials and 25 percent off sushi from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
In Boulder, Gaku Ramen is now serving up noodle bowls, bao buns and other Japanese specialties. This is the second Gaku; the first is located in Burlington, Vermont. The founders of Gaku — Ryan Goldstein, Michael March and David Stone — met in college and share a love of affordable Japanese food and college towns, so Boulder was a natural choice for expansion. "One of the things that's most important to us is the authenticity," notes Kelley Jones, managing partner of this location. To maintain a consistent and authentic experience, the new Gaku is helmed by chef Colin Arthur and general manager Michelle Binus, who both worked at the Burlington location.
And on South University Boulevard, Tatsu Izakaya takes over the former home of Jason's Thai, serving a wide range of bar food, rice dishes and noodle bowls.
Here's our complete list of restaurant and bar openings and closings for the week of April 29 through April 5, plus links to coverage of recent and upcoming activity:
Restaurants and Bars Opening This Week*
Besties Ice Cream, 1559 South Broadway
Gaku Ramen, 1119 13th Street, Boulder
Kisbee on the Roof (atop the Jacquard Hotel), 222 Milwaukee Street
Ku Cha House of Tea, 2445 East Third Avenue
Pistol Whip, 698 Santa Fe Drive
Run for the Roses, 1801 Blake Street
Sushi-Rama Fitzsimons, 13650 East Colfax Avenue, Aurora
Tatsu Izakaya, 2022 South University Boulevard
*Or earlier, and not previously mentioned.
We're always looking ahead to see what's coming on the restaurant scene. We recently served up a list of twenty places expected to open this year — a few of which debuted this week. Earlier this year, we offered another list of twenty anticipated restaurants, only four of which are now up and running.
We tally the restaurants and bars that opened and closed at the end of every month, too. April was a busy one, with more than thirty openings: See our Restaurant Roll Call for April 2019.
Have you spotted any openings or closings that we've missed? Let us know with a comment, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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