The Scoop: Kihachi's Chef Dreams of Retirement

Jill Moorhead and Erin Edwards

Nine is the number of courses and 13 is the number of dishes served in chef Ryuji Kimura's omakase menu at Kihachi Japanese Restaurant. Ninety is the number of hours that Kimura (known to regulars as Chef Mike) works each week to ensure that those courses are impeccably served. Twenty-four is the number of years that Kihachi has been serving Japanese food in an unassuming shopping center off Sawmill Road in Northwest Columbus. Forty-eight is the number of years Kimura has been in the restaurant industry. It's also the maximum number of people who are allowed to be in cozy restaurant, as determined by the state fire marshal. Twenty, however, is the maximum number of people Kimuri allows in his restaurant. Any more, and he feels it dilutes the dining experience.

It's safe to say that Kihachi isn't led by Kimura. Kihachi is Kimura. And that's why he decided that when he put the restaurant up for sale-through a broker-in early September. The name is not for sale, he says.

The possible closing of Kihachi isn't something we're ready to hear, but it's also something that Kimura tried to avoid. For two years, he tells us, he placed classified ads in a Japanese newspaper distributed throughout the Midwest called the Weekly Jangle. Those ads weren't to sell the restaurant. Rather, they were wanted ads for help to supplement his staff of three. But his standards are very high-higher, it seems, than the levels displayed by the applicants. And thus, he put the restaurant up for sale.

At time of press, only a couple of people had expressed interest in purchasing the restaurant, according to Kimura.

In the end, there's only one number that really matters to both Kimura and his fans, and it's an unknown one: How many days, weeks or months will Kihachi will remain open, serving box sushi, maitake mushroom soup and the Berkshire pork (marinated in miso for two days and served grilled alongside shishito peppers) like none other in this city. --Jill Moorhead

After serving up sushi for 18 years in the Short North, Haiku is closing on Dec. 10 to make way for a 10-story mixed-use development.

Rockmill Tavern, the first restaurant venture from brewer Matthew Barbee held its grand opening Wednesday at 503 S. Front St. in the Brewery District. Chef Andrew Smith, formerly of the Rossi and Salt & Pine, is heading up the kitchen, which features menu items like an excellent fried branzino with salsa verde, a formidable Tavern Burger and perfect-for-fall duck leg pot pie.

Co-owners John Havens and Aaron Mercier are set to open Rooks Tavern, featuring wood-fired meats and vegetables, on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 195 Chittenden Ave.

Curry Up Indian Grill, a "luxury fast casual" restaurant promising a modern, healthful spin on Indian cuisine, is now open at 6181 Sawmill Rd. Chef/owner Vishal Patel says the restaurant will feature a variety of curries and raitas, mini samosas and house-made masala chai.

Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern is now serving brunch Saturdays andSundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at all 10 of its Central Ohio locations.

Cara Mangini announced that Little Eater, her produce-inspired North Market eatery, will open its first stand-alone restaurant in Clintonville this spring.

Block's Bagels, which closed its longtime Broad Street location in April, recently broke ground on a new location at 3012 E. Broad St. Owner Steve Block is teaming up with Jeremy Fox of Short North Bagel Deli to operate the new location and its existing McNaughten Center shop.

Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffee is planning to open in Highpoint on Columbus Commons this spring.