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From Sushi Restaurant to Po’ Boy and Oyster-Slinging Southern Stalwart — Houston’s Izakaya Location Is Undergoing a Major Change

Seafood, however, is still on the menu

With a cap on, Chef Lucas McKinney stands arms crossed.
Lucas McKinney, a chef who worked with Underbelly Hospitality under James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, will help shape Midtown’s anticipated restaurant, Josephine’s.
Ally Hardgrave

In search of a new location in Houston’s Inner Loop, Houston’s sushi restaurant Izakaya has temporarily closed down after eight years, but in its place — a new restaurant with an homage to Southern family traditions and Gulf Coast cuisine is in the works, according to a release.

As owners Yun Cheng and Sammy Saket seek to relocate Izakaya, they are working on transforming the 318 Gray Street space in Midtown to open Josephine’s, a seafood-focused spot that will serve Southern snacks like hushpuppies and country ham and okra, while also hosting crawfish boils and selling boiled seafood by the pound.

Executive chef Lucas McKinney, who hails from Mississippi, and general manager Joseph Ramirez, of Metairie, Louisiana, will both channel their Southern upbringings, meaning po’ boys are definitely on the menu. A menu highlight with a side of history will be the crabmeat melt po’boy, a sandwich that is said to once cost $1.75 at a Biloxi cafe in the 1940s, deeming it possibly the most expensive item sold at the cafe.

Josephine’s general manager Joseph Ramirez in a button up shirt and trousers, arms crossed.
Manager Jospeh Ramirez will use his upbringing in Metairie, Louisiana to help lead new Southern restaurant, Josephine’s.
Ally Hardgrave

Named after McKinney’s grandmother and the name of a steamship that shipwrecked in the Gulf of Mexico, Josephine’s will also feature a raw bar with seafood towers and will transform Izakaya’s dumpling bar into an oyster bar that will dish out raw and chargrilled oysters from the Gulf and East coasts.

Though McKinney promises an impressive wine list and high-end food, Cheng promises a “come as you are” atmosphere with cozy banquettes and a patio with cafe-string lighting to exude a casual vibe.

Slated to open in June, Josephine’s will be open for lunch and dinner daily.


318 Gray Street, , TX 77002 (713) 527-8988 Visit Website