Downtown Sushi Restaurant Moving Forward
Restaurateur purchases Milwaukee Street building.
A proposed sushi-hibachi restaurant for downtown Milwaukee looks to be moving forward.
Lichai Chen acquired the building at 770-772 N. Milwaukee St. for $1.15 million on Tuesday. The property is assessed for $911,900.
Chen is proposing to open Ninja MKE in the building, his third sushi and hibachi combination restaurant. He also owns and operates Ninja Japanese Steakhouse in West Bend and Ninja Hibachi Sushi Steakhouse in Menomonee Falls.
The first floor of the Milwaukee building would contain a sushi bar, bar and kitchen. The second floor would contain hibachi tables where chefs prepare and cook Japanese food in the presence of customers.
Chen secured city approval for a liquor license and food dealer permit for the proposed Milwaukee location in February. His attorney, Vincent Bobot, said Chen would be investing $1.4 million in the restaurant.
A liquor license filed with the city in October 2019 said Chen hoped to open the restaurant in June 2020.
The 7,834-square-foot building was constructed in 1913 according to city records.
It was also the proposed site for a strip club in 2016. After being denied a license, the prospective owners settled a lawsuit with the city alongside other strip club applicants and were granted a single license on N. Old World Third St.
A cocktail lounge and event venue was approved for the space in early 2019, but never moved forward.
Chen did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
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