Sushi has been such a hit in Yardley that borough businessman Jim Cain is taking it to another level.
Cain, general contractor Jeff Burdette and designer Jennifer Lombardi have been busy the last several months renovating a space in the Yardley Town Center at 25 S. Main St. into the new location for the Kawaii Tori (beautiful bird in Japanese) sushi restaurant, which now operates only at night from a spot at 7 S. Main.
That space is now the Pretty Bird Coffee Shop during the day and Kawaii Tori at night, explained Cain, the managing partner of those two businesses and three more in the borough.
The new 2,200-square-foot Kawaii Tori, to be located in the spot formerly occupied by the Fine Wine & Good Spirits state liquor store at Yardley Town Center, will be a huge expansion of what’s happening at the restaurant’s current location.
“It’s the largest design investment we’ve made to date,” said Cain of the approximately $400,000 being pumped into the renovation.
The new restaurant will feature a special $40,000 “ocean wave” black walnut ceiling, all stainless steel kitchen, 15-person sushi bar, private event space and an expanded menu including dumplings, teriyaki entrees, galbi-Korean marinated short ribs and multiple donburi (rice bowl) options.
There will be wine and beer, including specialty beers from Cain’s Yardley brewery. Total capacity will be 73, said Cain, who added that he’s hoping to open the new Kawaii Tori around mid-November.
He obtained a variance from the borough’s zoning hearing board to allow a full-fledged restaurant with a kitchen at a spot formerly zoned only for retail.
“Kawaii Tori’s success over the past three years at 7 S. Main is due in large part to the community embracing our vision for the future of Yardley,” Cain said.
“Without the community getting behind our efforts, we would not have been able to contemplate such a large undertaking.”
Cain said Burdette and Lombardi, who he has worked with on other ventures, and sushi master Danny Nguyen will help make the new restaurant a first-class establishment.