A sushi restaurant in the Haymarket plans to close its doors by late next month and a new Chinese restaurant plans to reopen in the same location soon after.
Dozo Sushi Grill and Lounge at 151 N. Eighth St. plans to close after five years as its owners pursue new ventures, said Matthew Bittinger, assistant manager at the restaurant.
In its place, a Madison, Wisconsin-based Chinese restaurant called Ichiban Sichuan will reopen. Jason Diong, owner of Ichiban Sichuan, said the restaurant will feature Sichuan cuisine, a style of cooking that no Nebraska restaurants currently feature but is popular in China.
“We are planning on introducing the concept,” Diong said during a phone interview. "It fits the demographic.”
He said he would like to open by the end of October, though that timeline has been complicated by his need to replace much of the cooking appliances in the Dozo location. A decision by a city advisory committee Thursday to reject Diong’s request for two signs on his restaurant also may postpone the restaurant’s opening, he said.
The Historic Preservation Commission voted this week to allow Diong to place one of two signs he requested on the restaurant but not both. Several commissioners said allowing both signs to be placed on the restaurant would be too obstructive to the building.
Diong said the restaurant’s location on the periphery of the Haymarket, away from the busiest lanes of pedestrian traffic, requires a bolder set of signs than a typical downtown restaurant.
Ichiban Sichuan has two other locations, in Madison and Lafayette, Indiana.
Diong said he focuses on college towns because they offer the right mix of young professionals and customers who enjoy quality Chinese cuisine.
"The Haymarket has all of those demographics,” he said. "That’s one of the reasons why we chose that location.”