Coming soon: Kyatchi at 38th & Nicollet

A former First Avenue general manager and a local restaurant veteran are opening Kyatchi, a sustainable sushi restaurant, at 3758 Nicollet Ave. S.

The chef is Hide Tozawa of Fuji Ya, who once worked as personal chef to former Twins player Tsuyoshi Nishioka, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Tozawa is Japanese and “learned how to make sushi the old-fashioned way,” said Kim Bartmann, who is consulting on the project and is the restaurateur behind Barbette and Pat’s Tap.

The menu includes grilled meat skewers, udon noodles, and the “Japanese comfort food” donburi, which is a rice bowl topped with meat and veggies. Bartmann promised that Kyatchi won’t be the “same old sushi place with the same old menu” — the restaurant is committed to serving fish that was properly caught and harvested. Bartmann said that means tuna rolls won’t be a menu staple, as tuna is almost extinct.

“There is a lot of fraud in the seafood market right now,” Bartmann said. “Our oceans are over-fished.”

The restaurant is seeking sustainable certifications from groups including the Marine Stewardship Council, with help from the Minnesota Zoo’s Fish Smart program.

Consequently, the seafood options could vary.

“We want people to explore other things,” Bartmann said. “If they’re not in the mood to explore, Hide is happy to make one of four of his versions of a hot dog.”

With hot dogs on the menu, perhaps it goes without saying that Kyatchi does not aim to be a traditional Japanese restaurant.

“Hide tends to like cozy, small neighborhood restaurants and Sarah [Peterson, co-owner] likes retro stuff,” Bartmann said. “I’m involved, so there will be cool art on the walls.”

The owners include Samuel Peterson, who managed First Avenue from 1996-2008. (The restaurant won’t have live music, however.) Co-owner Sarah Peterson has worked at restaurants including Azia, Stella’s Fish Café, Tonic and Bar Abilene.

The Nicollet Avenue space was previously Chelly’s Café from late 2007-2009. It was long advertised as the future home of “Just Turkey” restaurant, though those plans never materialized.

The 44-seat restaurant will also have a sidewalk cafe.

The target opening date is Dec. 1.