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Izakaya on Track to Open in Midtown Next Month

Long-awaited Japanese pub will be sushi-free.

Azuma Group's Izakaya in Midtown will open as soon as next month.
Azuma Group's Izakaya in Midtown will open as soon as next month.
Jakeisha Wilmore

Midtown's bar scene is booming but its dining options aren't too far behind The area is seeing a surge of restaurants opening, and even more on the way. One highly anticipated opening that can't open soon enough is Izakaya, the Japanese pub from Azuma Group,the group behind the Azuma restaurants, Soma Sushi and Kata Robata.

Houston Chronicle dished more details on the concept, which will operate at the former Farrago space on Gray under the direction Kata Robata's Manabu Horiuchi. In addition to the hiring of former Cove chef Jean-Philippe Gaston last year, Izakaya has hired Claire Sprouse as its cocktail consultant. Sprouse, once a bartender in Houston, runs a bar and beverage consulting agency in San Francisco, Tin Roof Drink Community. Also shaping the wine, beer and sake menu, Antonio Gianola of Houston Wine Merchant.

The Chronicle notes sushi nor rolls will be on the menu. Instead expect Japanese-style ceviches and seafood carpaccios. In keeping with the pub theme, fun doos menu items will include "fries with Japanese curry sauce, a poached egg and bonito and seaweed flakes," Vietnamese shrimp and grits, plus fish and chips. More details from Houston Chronicle:

Palmer Schooley’s schooleydesign will be designing the interiors of the 4,500-square-foot restaurant which will seat about 120 (not including seats on two patios). Schooleydesign is responsible for the look of Azuma restaurants, Kata Robata, Benjy’s on Washington, and Samurai Japanese Steak & Sushi in Bellaire. The izakaya’s interior is being described as whimsical and "interactive" with an industrial/street food vibe. Fun design elements being planned include small screens in the bathroom areas playing "Godzilla" movies.

Izakaya fits into the neighborhood's hip, laid-back vibe and sounds poised to be Midtown's next hangout spot. The corner of Gray and Bagby, once filled with brunch goers and night owls bursting at the seam, has lost his liveliness since Farrago's closed down shop. With the Japanese pub projected to open in Mid-March, the corner will be in full swing again for a round of weekend fun. Sounds like it's time to start planning next month's Sunday Funday.


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