Tanuki, the Russian restaurant chain, with 60 locations throughout Moscow, is opening its first U.S. location.
The restaurant will open at 1080 Alton Rd. some time in the winter.
Tanuki's operating partner/director of operations, Andrew Kaplan (of CheeseMe fame), is overseeing the construction, which is actually a total gutting of the space. "This place needs love," Kaplan said of the restaurant. Everything from the kitchen to the oversized, dark wood bar has been removed.
In its place, Kaplan describes a lively and colorful restaurant with a giant Buddha as focal point, guarding over diners. Floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights will brighten the room. The 80-seat restaurant will also feature reclaimed barnwood beams, an open kitchen, and a large wraparound bar. An outdoor patio will serve about 20 additional people. All in all, Kaplan says that about $2 million is being invested in taking Tanuki to Miami Beach.
With 60 locations, Tanuki is one of the most well-known restaurants in Moscow, with some locations open 24 hours a day. Here in Miami, the restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining. This is the first location, with more planned.
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Tanuki, which is named after an adorable Japanese raccoon dog (the restaurant's mascot), has an extensive menu, with about 150 items. Sushi comprises about 25 percent of the menu, with noodles, dim sum, Peking duck, and soups also being offered. During a recent trip to Moscow, Kaplan was impressed with the restaurant's food. "What really sets them apart was the quality of the food. Everything was the freshest, and the best available."
In addition, Tanuki will carry a large selection of teas and fresh juices.. Kaplan recalls, "When I was in Moscow, they made their own cranberry juice from boiled cranberries and a little sugar. It was so simple but so delicious." Kaplan is seeking out a talented bar manager to help create a cocktail program for Tanuki. "I am looking for someone who really wants to make a name for himself or herself by putting their mark on some unique cocktails."
Tanuki's director of operations says that Alton Road, now opened up after an extended construction period, is the perfect location for the Miami Tanuki. "I really think the west side of Miami Beach is thriving and Alton Road is going to be the next big boom. What I really enjoy about this part of South Beach is that it really is a neighborhood and I want to create a great place for locals to come to."