Soseki Sushi Cafe and Sake Bar set to open next week

Exterior of Soseki Sushi Cafe and Sake Bar — photo by Frankie Schneckloth

Downtown diners will have something new to feast on next week, when Soseki Sushi Cafe and Sake Bar at 227 S Dubuque St, opens for business on Monday, Oct. 9.

Owned and operated by Kevin Wu, with the help of his wife Yahong and his father Peter, the restaurant will offer a limited menu in the preliminary days. The cafe is scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, and will serve freshly-baked pastries, coffee and tea, as well as prepackaged grab-and-go sushi. Counter sushi service begins at 11 a.m.

As the restaurant hits its stride in the following weeks, the menu will expand to include Japanese noodle and donburi rice dishes, as well as a smattering of popular Chinese dishes like General Tso’s, Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Sesame Chicken.

“Most of the local sushi restaurants are dine-in and full-service, but at Soseki, we are just counter service,” Kevin Wu told Little Village. “There’s also different mixes of cultural foods here, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coffee shop mixed with a sushi restaurant.”

In addition to their unique combination of sushi counter and coffee shop, Soseki will also feature an extensive sake selection. Many area restaurants offer a small selection of sake, but Soseki will have a wide variety as well as sake cocktails, wine and beer.

While Asian food isn’t new to Iowa City’s culinary scene, the Wu family hopes to create a unique restaurant that caters to everyone — a restaurant that foodies, international students and locals can all appreciate.

“Culturally speaking, Asians, and I suppose the population in general, have strong cravings for food,” Kevin Wu said. “My generation — you know, I grew up in the ’80s — and we ate at home every meal. Now, it’s all about the restaurants.”

Soseki Sushi Cafe and Sake Bar will be open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.

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