Here's a Rittenhouse Square shakeup in the offing: Avram Hornik is ceding Loie, his bistro/bar at 128 S. 19th St., in favor of a Japanese restaurant from chef Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka.
It'll be called Zama. He will roll out his signature sushi and serve simple Japanese dishes. "The reputation of Japanese food is very bad right now," Zama says. "I cannot even find one that I want to go to. All has the same menu, which has never been updated for the last 15-20 years, such as teriyaki, tempura, hibachi, and too many instant items. In addition, they just try to do fusion, fusion and fusion (make it look like confusion)."
"I would like to introduce what we really eat."
A year ago, Tanaka was preparing to go the izakaya (Japanese bar) route with Stephen Starr but Starr chose not to proceed with the project, which had been penciled in for the Lanesboro at 16th and Locust.
Hornik, who owns the bricks, tells me that Loie will stay open until the liquor license is transferred. "This is a better use for the space," said Hornik.
Zama says he'd like to be open by September.
Hornik is hoping for a mid-August opening of Duo, the pizzeria/bar he's opening with partner Mark Fichera at 39th and Chestnut Streets.
(This post has been corrected to reflect the concept as a Japanese restaurant, not as an izakaya. Zama says an izakaya will be his next concept.)