Azia space slated for new Eat Street Buddha Kitchen & Lounge

A late-night venue called Eat Street Buddha Kitchen & Lounge may open in the former Azia space at 2550 Nicollet Ave.

The restaurant would specialize in Asian fusion and seafood dishes, according to the city. A glass-enclosed case would display fresh catches and food.

The 142-seat restaurant would remain open until 2 a.m. every night, with DJs spinning Tuesday thru Saturday. Two-top tables would also line the sidewalks on Nicollet and 26th Street.

A Whittier neighborhood committee heard the restaurant pitch in mid-July. Whittier Alliance Executive Director Marian Biehn said the committee supported the plans, with one red flag.

“We are Eat Street, not Drink Street,” Biehn said. “We’re not an entertainment center. While we like all those things, what matters is how this works in the neighborhood.”

City staff said the restaurant must earn 60 percent of its revenue from food, rather than alcohol.

The city’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee approved the plans July 22. City Council approval is pending.

Biehn said co-owner Mike Tupa also owns 12 other restaurants, including Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon.

Tupa said he would provide more details on the restaurant next month.