Uchi’s sister restaurant is coming to Cherry Creek but it could be a couple of years before you can get a reservation.
Austin-based Hai Hospitality, the restaurant group behind the sushi spot, plans to open another concept called Uchiko at 299 Fillmore St. in the former Ginny Williams Gallery space, CEO Tony Montero told BusinessDen this week.
But Montero said the restaurant might not open until 2024.
“The late opening date is a result of the permit process and also the fact that we have to repurpose the building,” Montero said. “We just repurposed a church in Houston for our concept Loro, and what we thought would be a six-month construction schedule took about 12 months. So we’re definitely adding in contingencies we don’t know about right now. It could be sooner, but we’re targeting 2024 right now.”
BusinessDen reported in December that Hai Hospitality was eyeing the Cherry Creek building. Montero said the company signed a lease for it this month.
Uchi, which was started by James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole in 2003, has operated at 2500 Lawrence St. in RiNo since 2018. There are also Uchi locations in Austin, Houston, Dallas and Miami, and one coming soon in Los Angeles.
In 2010, Cole opened Uchiko, which means “child of Uchi,” in Austin. The restaurant has a more casual, farmhouse aesthetic than Uchi. It serves an expanded selection of grilled menu items, like lobster, wagyu steak and duck with a Japanese flair, plus Uchi staples and raw sushi dishes.
“Uchiko is a little bit more approachable, so you can walk in without a reservation for the most part,” Montero said. “When you walk into an Uchiko, typically there’s a bar on the right, and you’ll have a sushi line that’s separate, and there’s a big wood-fired grill at the start of the sushi line, where we’ll do a lot more cooked food than we do at Uchi.”
Hai Hospitality has hired Denver-based Semple Brown Design and Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to design the 5,500-square-foot space, which will include a nearly 1,000-square-foot addition for the new kitchen and a courtyard patio.
“The demand at Uchi Denver has been really great, and we thought it made the most sense to open in Cherry Creek,” Montero said. “My wife and I used to live in Colorado seven years ago, and we used to drive all the way from Broomfield to Cherry Creek because there are so many great restaurants and shops. The neighborhood has always been appealing to our group, and when this came up, we felt like we couldn’t have found a better fit.”
Ginny Williams, the late art collector and philanthropist, opened an art gallery in the Cherry Creek building in the 1980s. In 2020, her estate sold the property to Clif Louis, the owner of The Vineyard Wine Shop next door, for $3.3 million.