Izakaya Den opens tomorrow in its new home on South Pearl

After a year of construction that carved out the original home of the Pearl Street Grill and replaced it with a modern, multi-level structure, the new Izakaya Den will officially open tomorrow right next to Sushi Den, a mainstay on South Pearl Street for close to three decades. Created by Hiro & Company (DBA Den Corner Restaurants), with Roth Sheppard Architects and Jordy Construction, the new restaurant looks stunning. And so does the new menu.

Only the first floor — with 100 seats, including seventeen at the camphor-wood sushi bar that was salvaged from the first Izakaya Den — will be open tomorrow. Like that sushi bar, many of the components in the new place were brought over from the other restaurant, which closed at the end of May; others were custom-made in Japan. Some of the bricks from the Pearl Street Grill are in the sidewalk out front.

The excavation work created a big basement space, with subterranean storage and working areas now shared by the two Den restaurants; there are also pass-throughs on the first floor so that the staffs can work together, sharing skills and increasing overall quality, says Toshi Kizaki, one of the two brothers behind the project. “Having the two places separate was difficult to manage,” he notes.

Work will continue for the next few weeks on the upstairs space, which will include patio seating overlooking Pearl Street, several dining areas (including a private dining room) and a big bar under a retractable roof; a bamboo garden flanks the stairs and glass elevator. That garden was inspired by a hot spring that Toshi saw years ago in Japan. “It has remained in my head,” he says.

While construction was under way last week, we got a sneak peek at both the building and the new menu, which includes sushi, an expanded seafood selection, and other favorites from the original Izakaya.

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