The founder of a popular group of Japanese eateries has scored the prized corner spot that once held Cafe Chloe, the cherished French bistro that shuttered this past summer after 14 years in the East Village. The space’s new proprietor is chef Isamu “Sam” Morikizono, who operates seven locations of Tajima Ramen including five in the San Diego area and outposts in Long Beach and Tijuana. He’s also the co-owner of Cloak & Petal, which opened last December in Little Italy and combines cocktails with a Japanese-focused menu.
The new eatery at 721 9th Avenue will not be another ramen shop; Tajima already has a branch nearby at 8th and E. Its concept is still in development, but a rep for Morikizono tells Eater that it will be modeled after Ikinari Steak, a Japanese steakhouse chain that features a quick-service format where diners choose their steaks by cut and weight. The yet-unnamed restaurant is scheduled to open by Summer 2019.