SOUTH OGDEN -- Every 10 years or so, it's typical that a restaurant will need a touch up, so when Walgreens approached Spencer Chen to purchase a portion of his property, the owner of Kobe Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar decided it was time for more than a face-lift.
Chen, who opened Dae Enko Tai at 6024 S. 1550 East in 1994 and later renamed it, is building a new Kobe on the east side of the restaurant's current lot. The restaurant will continue to operate during the construction of his new digs.
"As far as new additions, the new building will be aesthetically beautiful," Chen said.
Over the past several years, Chen said he has traveled the world and carefully sought out the architecture, design and decor that would most fit his restaurant. Ogden based general contracting company, Stacey Enterprises Inc., will build the new restaurant.
The new Kobe building will have authentic Japanese architecture that uses the culture's special use of wood framing and roofing textiles, Chen said.
"There will also be a specially designed pond and water structure that will weave through the building, adding to the unique atmosphere," he said.
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held recently. The new restaurant is expected to open in November.
Chen wanted to implement a number of upgrades to continue to distinguish himself as a premier Japanese steakhouse. Those upgrades included a sushi bar, three more teppanyaki grills and the new name of Kobe.
Approximately 20 employees serve 3,000 people at Kobe each month. Meals are cooked right before the customer's eyes by chefs who are trained by Chen himself.
"Their unique ability to entertain while they are preparing causes clients to be amazed," Chen said. "Another distinction between Kobe and other teppanyaki grills is the use of authentic Kobe beef, which is a Japanese brand prime steak."
Chen said he is sad to see the existing building go because that's where his business career started. However, he is anxious for the new building. He said many of his customers feel the same way.
"The new architecture, design and decor will provide a unique experience to all those who come. We're excited for a new change."
After the restaurant is built, the current building will be demolished for the construction of Walgreens.