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Wasabi Japanese Cuisine to open in Duluth’s Old City Hall

The main floor of Duluth’s Old City Hall will soon be transformed into a sushi restaurant. The owners of Superior’s Wasabi Japanese Cuisine signed a lease on Monday for the space. They anticipate opening this second eatery by the same name in November or December.

The building at 132 E. Superior St. is owned by Rod Raymond of the Just Take Action restaurant group. Since 2011, the main level space has housed three restaurants: Tycoons Alehouse, the Blind Pig, and more recently Sound.

Dennis Kempton, who handles media relations for Just Take Action, says the new Wasabi Japanese Cuisine location will be modeled after its sister restaurant in Superior, which opened in March in the former O’Neill’s Pub & Liquor building at 3333 Tower Ave.

The Superior restaurant offers typical Japanese fare such as sushi, sashimi and hibachi, with an all-you-can-eat sushi option for $19.99. A representative from Wasabi says the Duluth version of the restaurant will be similar but the owners plan to test out a new menu item at the new location — deconstructed sushi bowls.

Kempton says the owners of Wasabi stopped in to inquire about the restaurant space on the main level last week. At the time, the building had been taken off the market and plans were in the works for an event center that included all three floors of Old City Hall.

Raymond decided to quickly change course and lease the main-level space, based on owner Coco Wang’s proven success with family-owned restaurants. Wang owns both the Superior Wasabi location and the China Buffet Chinese Restaurant in Eau Claire.

The new owners are making some modifications to the kitchen and may do some remodeling to make room for sushi stations.

The upstairs of Old City Hall and the Rathskeller basement bar will remain available for rent for a range of private events. Kempton expects to work in partnership with Wasabi for event catering.

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