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Coming soon to the South Loop: Kai Sushi and Chicago Oyster House

While one sushi bar prepares to open in the South Loop, another remixes its concept

  • Triad Sushi in the South Loop is turning into Chicago Oyster House (Tribune file photo)
Triad Sushi in the South Loop is turning into Chicago Oyster House (Tribune… (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune )
May 09, 2013|By Samantha Nelson, @samanthanelson1 | For RedEye

Fans of raw fish can look forward to two new options coming to the South Loop this month.

West Town's Kai Sushi plans to open its second location this month in Donna's Cafe's former space at 1255 S. State St. Owner John Tsendsuren said he'd always wanted to set up shop in the South Loop, but couldn't find a good space when he was opening Kai six years ago. When he heard Donna's was closing, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I think it’s a nice, growing new neighborhood," he said. "It’s not as crowded as Lincoln Park where there’s a lot of sushi restaurants that have been there a long time. In the South Loop, there’s room to grow.”

The new location will have the same menu and decor as the original and will also be BYOB. Tsendsuren said he's happy to have more room than his Grand Street location and is especially excited to have patio space. 

Meanwhile, the owners of Triad Sushi (1933 S. Indiana Ave.) are switching gears and transforming the restaurant into Chicago Oyster House, which will start trial service May 14-16 followed by a grand opening planned for May 18.

The new decor will have an "ocean dock feel" and one of the two sushi bars will be switched into an oyster bar. About half of Triad's menu will still be available to keep regulars happy, but the focus will be on raw and cooked oysters, with eight to 10 types available.

“I see a trend that oysters are always in demand," said co-owner Rick Cheng. "I go to oyster festivals in Chicago and they always sell out. I think sushi kind of plateaued about five years ago, so I’m just exploring other options.”

The restaurant will also have daily crawfish boils and serve plenty of other seafood such as king crab legs, snow crab legs and grilled halibut. They've tripled their drink options and added specialty cocktails.

“We always thought our bar was a little small for our crowd," Cheng said. "Chicago Oyster House is going to be serving high-end people, so we needed to change our wine selection.”

Cheng said he thought spring was the perfect time to introduce the new concept.

“Raw, cold food will be a popular food item coming up with the simmering hot summers in Chicago,” he said. “Triad was wonderful for nine years, but it was time for a change.”

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