Japanese fast-casual joint slides into Commons Park

menya commons park

Denver’s third Menya restaurant will set up near Commons Park at 1590 Little Raven St. (Kate Tracy)

Another restaurateur will try his hand serving Asian food in Commons Park – nestled between downtown and LoHi.

On Friday, Japanese restaurant Menya leased 1,600 square feet at 1590 Little Raven St. The restaurant will serve noodles and fast-casual Japanese cuisine at the new location next to the foot bridge.

“It’s a very nice community,” owner J.W. Lee said. “That’s the only path if you want to walk from the Highlands to (downtown).”

Two weeks ago, Asian fusion restaurant Zengo called it quits at Commons Park. 

Menya will replace Little Raven Bistro, which shut down a few months ago, said John Livaditis, a broker with Axio Commercial Real Estate who put together the deal.

Lee is investing $150,000 into the new restaurant, which he plans to open July 1. Originally from South Korea, Lee moved to Denver in 2007 before opening his first two Menya locations last spring. His Greenwood Village outpost at 5910 S. University Blvd. serves primarily sushi, while his 16th Street Mall location at 951 16th St. serves mostly Japanese noodle dishes. Lee also owns Wasabi Sushi in Belmar.

At his new restaurant, Lee hopes to experiment with the fast-casual concept while also saving money on servers. He’ll have a kiosk or walk-up counter for people to order ramen dishes.

“In Japan, ramen is more of a comfort food,” Lee said. “It shouldn’t be too expensive. It should be easy to access … We’re going to scale it down for this new location for this quick-service concept.”

On its website, Menya’s ramen dishes range from $10.25 to $13, while its tapas-style Izakaya dishes range from $4.50 to $7.25.

menya commons park

menya commons park

Denver’s third Menya restaurant will set up near Commons Park at 1590 Little Raven St. (Kate Tracy)

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