Brewing sake in Southwest

New restaurant is first sake brewery and restaurant outside of Japan

THE WEDGE — The first-ever sake brewery and restaurant outside of Japan was set to open tonight in Southwest.

moto-i opens in the former Machu Picchu site, 2940 Lyndale Ave. S., just a few doors down from The Herkimer Pub & Brewery. Blake Richardson owns both micro-brewing operations.

Sake is a fermented rice beverage that is increasingly popular in the U.S. Richardson’s moto-i aims to capitalize on diners’ growing familiarity with the drink by offering three handcrafted sakes and a sparkling sake, with additional varieties to follow.

On its website (www.moto-i.com) the new restaurant is described as inspired by Izakaya, or Japanese speakeasies, and will offer small plates of Japanese street food, skewers and noodle bowls to accompany the sake.

Richardson also planned to host once-a-month sake seminars for small groups who want to learn more about the traditional Japanese drink.