LINCOLN PARK — A sushi spot is coming to Lincoln Park with long-time neighborhood sushi chef Mitch Kim at the helm.
Sushi Hall, 2630 N. Clark St., is expected to open in May. Its head chef will be Kim, who’s worked 17 years as the chef of Toro Sushi, 2546 N. Clark St.
Kim will co-own Sushi Hall with Dao Chanthabane, who was Kim’s former head sous chef at Toro, and Lincoln Park residents and business partners Jimmy Vetrano and Jacob Ringer.
“I love Lincoln Park and the great people here, so I’m looking forward to keeping that relationship going,” Kim said. “They trust me, and I trust them.”
The 2,700-square-foot Sushi Hall restaurant will feature a main dining room with a 10-seat sushi bar where Kim will work, along with a separate space for larger groups that will be available for private dining, Ringer said. The co-owners want to get a liquor license for a separate bar area in the back of the restaurant.
Each co-owner will oversee a different part of the business, allowing Kim to focus solely on the quality of his sushi and the sushi bar experience.
“One of our hopes here is to really unlock Mitch to do what he does at the sushi bar and take the burden off of being in day-to-day restaurant management and ownership,” Ringer said.
Kim said he’ll concentrate on the people he serves and the quality of his food.
“I’m looking forward to being able to focus on what I love to do, which is the experience at the sushi bar,” Kim said. “It’s my territory, where I love serving people, talking to them and making them smile.”
Kim has an interactive style as a sushi chef, as he builds a rapport with customers to answer questions, teach them about sushi and build relationships, he said.
“My favorite part of being a sushi chef is making great food and meeting great people,” Kim said. “Quality, great pricing and getting to know my guests is how I’ve survived in Lincoln Park all this time.”
Ringer said Kim is a “neighborhood institution” who has become beloved by many customers through his informal approach to creating sushi.
“I had my first date with my wife at Toro with Mitch, and he was at our wedding,” Ringer said. “I was at his daughter’s wedding. He has this lively personality that helps him build those kinds of relationships with customers.”
The Sushi Hall team brought on local firm Siren Betty for the restaurant’s design, which will feature a mix of natural wood, light-brown leather and exposed brick.
The restaurant also features a section in the back where delivery drivers can pick up orders.
The menu will have classic sushi rolls, recipes that Kim has perfected throughout his time in Lincoln Park and an “I don’t eat sushi” section with about 20 dishes, including cooked shrimp, cooked soft-shelled crab and salmon teriyaki, Kim said.
The restaurant will offer a takeout lunch program for people working from home who want to walk to the restaurant and pick up sushi for lunch, Ringer said.
“There is something for everyone here,” Kim said.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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