Friday, December 19, 2014

Comings and goings: Japanese restaurants on a roll

From page B1 | August 17, 2014 |


Enju Japanese Restaurant owner George Wong shows a plate of assorted sashimi at his new downtown restaurant on Thursday. Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo

It’s August, and new restaurants are gearing up to open before the student rush. Two new sushi restaurants just debuted, along with a Middle Eastern one. A third Japanese restaurant should be ready next month, as will some other specialty eateries.


Enju Japanese Restaurant opened on Aug. 1 at the former Hoa Viet spot at 305 First St.

Owner George Wong said Thursday that business is picking up every day since the soft opening. The dining room was quite full on Thursday night.

Enju’s concept is traditional Japanese food with a fusion influence, to draw the “young college people,” Wong said. The menu includes sushi rolls, sashimi, noodle bowls, tempura and bento boxes, all presented beautifully. It’s still waiting for license approval for beer and sake.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.


Nami Sushi opened Aug. 9 at 2939 Spafford St., Suite 105, in the former Sushi Nobu spot.

It specializes in all-you-can-eat sushi that is made to order, not a buffet. Presentation is decorative here, too, with a wide variety of rolls and specialties.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and noon to 9 p.m. on weekends.


Yakitori Yuchan, a Japanese barbecue restaurant filling the former Beach Hut Deli location at 109 E St., may open in mid-September, the owner reports.

Yuji Yokoyama said there is still a series of inspections. “We are getting close, though.”

The casual fare will be different than other Japanese food in the area. Instead of sushi, Yakitori Yuchan will offer small plates of skewered chicken, veggies and seafood. The barbecue uses special charcoal imported from Japan. Beverages will include beer, wine and sake.


Indigo | Hammond + Playle Architects will host a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday for its new building under construction at the former Dairy Queen, 909 Fifth St.

The Davis firm’s current office is at 231 G St., Suite 2, in Court ’N Cedar. Its new architecture office and studio is due to be completed by year’s end.

According to a news release, the 4,000-square-foot office and studio are an “adaptive reuse” of the former Dairy Queen building. Most of the frame, including the swooping roofline, is being retained “to preserve the spirit of this iconic mid-century modern Davis structure.” And the addition is “inspired by the old vernacular shop buildings seen along Central Valley railroad tracks.”

“The project will showcase sustainable building methods and systems, with a goal of net-zero energy” the release said. A south-facing shed roof will feature photovoltaics, and the site will include rainwater capture. The building will optimize the use of daylight and natural ventilation, and will have a hydronic system for heating and cooling. Local materials like rice straw bales are being used for insulation.

“Established in 1999 by architects Bruce Playle and Jonathan Hammond, the firm is widely known for innovative and sustainable designs for public and private sector work such as civic buildings, schools, residential, and sacred spaces,” the news release said. Its mission “is the integration of art, architecture and ecology.”

The new building will include 1,200 square feet of lease space. For information, visit


ChickPeas, a Middle Eastern, healthy fast-food restaurant, opened Friday at 640 W. Covell Blvd., Suite A, in Anderson Plaza.

It replaces DOSiRAK, a Korean restaurant that closed. The space is most remembered as a longtime Baskin-Robbins ice cream store.

ChickPeas’ menu includes falafel, shawarma, schnitzel, self-serve salads, hummus plates, fries, and rice and beans.

On Thursday, I met owners Mike and Ilanit “Valerie” Ben Namer, who are excited to bring what they know of as “Middle Eastern street food” to town. Valerie was born in Russia but moved to Israel at age 11. Her falafels — vegan “meatballs” — are made from scratch with chickpeas, not a mix or powder, she noted. Although it is fast food, it’s the healthiest option for a quick meal, she noted.

It opened at 11 a.m. on Friday, but regular hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


Wind of Change, the restaurant replacing Café Mediterranee at 113 D St., is wrapping up its remodeling. Management hopes to have it open in early September.

The food concept is “American style cuisine with French and Mediterranean fusion delicacies.”


Crucial Vibes Unlimited will soon fill the space left by Armadillo Music at 205 F St. Armadillo moved two doors down to a larger spot. Crucial Vibes will feature reggae, Jamaican and Rasta clothing and accessories. It’s set to open as soon as Sept. 1, according to Brinley Properties.

Until now, Crucial Vibes has been a traveling vendor at flea markets and booths in Santa Cruz, San Francisco’s Union Plaza, on Treasure Island and at De Anza College.


Loving Aquatic Massage in Davis will offer a new service called Waterdance beginning in mid-September. Laurie Loving offers therapeutic Watsu (water shiatsu) massage in a warm-water pool. Waterdance “adds the underwater experience to the warm pool massage. Wearing a nose-clip, the client is guided into the weightless, three-dimensionality of the underwater world.”

For more information, visit or call 530 756-7335.


My Land Nails & Spa opened July 10 at 307 D St. Formerly Nails Only, the salon, owned by My Lan Tran was displaced by the remodeling planned at Court ‘N Cedar’s Third and G streets. (Demolition of that corner began Friday). Other businesses, including Jeeba Jewelry, Razor’s Edge Barber Shop and Tibet Nepal also found new homes.

— Wendy Weitzel is a freelance writer and editor in Davis. Her column publishes on Sundays. Throughout the week, watch her Comings & Goings Facebook page. If you know about a business coming or going in the area, contact Wendy at



Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing, marketing and design.
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