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What do a hip-hop artist, NBA players, a Vegas entrepreneur, and two D.C. nightclub owners have in common? They’re teaming up to open a ramen restaurant on H Street NE. Kitsuen is slated to open on New Year’s Eve at 1362 H St. NE.
Kitsuen founders Wayne Johnson and Tony Perry have experience in the local hospitality industry. They’re behind nightclubs Saint Yves and Abigail. But for this restaurant venture, they’ve assembled a team of famous partners, including Grammy-nominated artist Pusha T and his business partner Terrion Jones, NBA brothers Jerian and Jerami Grant, and Las Vegas entrepreneur Kyle Eubanks.
Johnson says he and Perry have been friends with Pusha T for almost a decade, and in their roles as nightclub owners, have booked him as talent.
“His business partner is a really close friend of mine from college days,” Johnson says. “This all stemmed from us talking about collaborations. I had to convince him a little bit.”
The team of partners tapped Chef Munehiro Mori, who has cooked in Tokyo and brings with him 25 years of experience making ramen, to lead the kitchen. “I can’t tell you how much knowledge he brings,” Johnson says. The menu will include three types of ramen: shoyu, miso, and a house special that will come topped with the Japanese fried chicken known as karaage.
Kitsuen is keeping the menu short and sweet. “We’ll do a few things really well rather than have a whole restaurant menu,” Johnson says. He describes the business as a very cool bar where craft cocktails will also be a focus. Hookah will be available after 11 p.m. on the upstairs level of Kitsuen as well as on the outdoor patio.
To start, the hours of operation will likely be Thursdays through Sundays from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. They may increase days and hours later, including adding lunch service.
“It’s a chill, kick-back place,” Johnson says. He also says there won’t be a dress code, which Eater previously reported. “We’re opening it to give an opportunity to people who are over the loud club, standing-on-couches thing. Some of our crowd has gotten a little older. We wanted to do something a little more calm.”
Kitsuen, 1362 H St. NE; kitsuenbar.com
“Pusha T – Hovefestivalen 2014” by NRK P3 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0