WICHITA — Restaurateur Penny Ellis says she knows we’ve heard it before, but, “We really feel like we’re going to have a new concept.”
She and her husband, Chris, and his brother, Curtis, are opening Kanai, a Japanese restaurant with a tagline that says, “Sushi and Sake to Savor.”
It’ll be near Shorty Small’s on the southwest corner of 119th and Maple.
The Ellises have not owned restaurants previously.
“We haven’t,” Penny Ellis says. “Are we crazy?”
Penny Ellis says they wouldn’t be opening the restaurant without their chef, David Kanai, for whom the business is named.
“He actually taught us how to appreciate sushi,” Ellis says.
She thinks Kanai can do the same for other diners.
“He really engages his customers,” Ellis says.
“For people who are afraid to try sushi . . . we really want to be user friendly,” she says.
The restaurant will seat 50, including 10 seats at the sushi counter where diners can watch their meals prepared.
There also will be other kinds of authentic Japanese cuisine and a full bar, including sake, which Ellis says she hopes to help customers appreciate as well.
Ellis says opening Oct. 15 “is probably a dream,” but she plans to be open by Nov. 1 at the latest.
She says Kanai may be interested in expanding one day, but she’s not sure she will be.
Ellis has “gotta find out if I like the restaurant business first.”