Big news today from restaurateur Tyson Cole and his Hai Hospitality group: Top Knot, the casual little sister to upscale sushi spot Uchi, is closing Jan. 14 and reopening Jan. 31 as Uchiba, according to a press release. The new concept will be more bar-focused than its predecessor, which opened above Uchi in January 2016. Via a press release:
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"Uchiba combines 'Uchi,' which means house in Japanese, and 'Ba,' the word for bar. The name sets the tone for the extension of the Uchi space downstairs to the bar and food destination upstairs.
"'We've noticed how our guests love to meet at the bar at Uchi, have drinks and share a few small dishes,' offers Owner and Executive Chef Tyson Cole. 'My recent travels to Japan inspired me to explore some new possibilities with a bar concept that incorporates elements of Uchi yet expands that into cocktail experience,' continues Cole.
"'Our guiding vision for our restaurant group Hai, is to always be searching, expanding and thinking about things in new ways to create unforgettable dining for our guests. Uchiba is a realization of our mission and allows us to keep pushing ourselves in that way,' Cole concludes.
"Alongside Cole is current Uchi Chef de Cuisine Alex Astranti, who will help realize the Uchiba concept. Astranti honed his skills under Stephen Pyles before joining the Hai Hospitality team in 2016. He will lead the culinary direction for Uchiba in addition to his duties as the Chef de Cuisine for Uchi.
"The updated space will add a full sushi bar, yakitori grill and familiar menu items from Uchi will appear on the Uchiba menu alongside new offerings. Full food and cocktail menus will be announced in the coming weeks in advance of opening."
The good news: Uchiba will continue Top Knot's wildly popular Uncommon Ramen series, featuring local and national guest chefs, and will continue to serve Sunday brunch and a sake happy hour that proved popular at Uchi downstairs.
Uchi, 2817 Maple Ave.