Hapa Sushi intends to open Motomaki, a new fast-casual sushi restaurant at the Twenty Ninth Street mall, by the early summer, the company's founder said Friday.
Motomaki, a new concept from the operator of sushi restaurants, is scheduled to go before Boulder's Beverage Licensing Authority on Wednesday for a hearing on a hotel and restaurant liquor license application.
If the company gains the necessary approvals from the liquor board, Motomaki could open in the coming months at 1600 28th St., No. 1216, a 2,521-square-foot space previously occupied by the San Francisco Soup Co., said Mark Van Grack, Hapa owner.
The restaurant is expected to be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and have 98 seats — 20 of which will be located on an outside patio, according to documents filed with the liquor board. At Motomaki, customers will grab a menu at the door, mark their order, choose a drink, pay at the register and sit down with an order number.
Motomaki will be similar in concept to fast-casual restaurants such as Modmarket, Noodles & Company and Chipotle, Van Grack said, adding that customers will be able to customize their sushi rolls, bowls and Moto Rolls, which he described as "Japanese burritos."
Van Grack and Hapa officials have wanted to branch out with a fast-casual concept, but the timing or locale was not right until now, he said.
"No. 1 was the location," he said. "We've been looking for the right location for a while and I think that the Twenty Ninth Street (space) is a perfect location."
Motomaki is operated under the Hapa Franchise Group Inc. umbrella, but Van Grack said that Hapa has no immediate plans to start franchising.
The success of the Twenty Ninth Street location could help to determine the fate of Motomaki, he said.
"I think it's too early to tell," he said of expansion plans. "We obviously need to see if our concept is right.
"We believe very strongly that this concept has the potential to grow; but until you prove the concept, obviously, we won't know."
Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar has a location in downtown Boulder, at 1117 Pearl St., and three restaurants in the Denver area.
Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or email@example.com