Under the helm of chef Sarah Cook, the restaurant had been serving omakase and bento boxes to-go since March. “Any failures here were simply because of me and my failed leadership,” wrote founding chef and owner Otto Phan on Instagram. “This difficult new environment is not an excuse for failure.” He noted that Kyoten’s lease was ending soon and that “it was best to accept that I couldn’t keep things going now, rather than later.
Pham opened Kyoten Sushiko as a food truck in 2014, where he quickly gained acclaim for his high-quality sushi. He closed the truck to move into the Mueller restaurant in 2016, serving $150 per person omakase and casual bento boxes for lunch. The restaurant received somewhat mixed reactions as the sushi consistently received high marks but the decor was notably spartan (all white walls, no music, etc.).
Pham moved to Chicago in 2018 to pursue higher accolades like Michelin stars with a new restaurant of the same name, and temporarily closed the Austin restaurant to find a new chef. The Chicago restaurant opened in 2018, while the Austin restaurant reopened in 2019 under Cook, formerly of Lenoir and Sway, with a slightly revamped menu.
Pham’s post also promised the Chicago location “is in no danger of closing.”
- Kyoten Sushiko Austin [Instagram]
- Kyoten Sushiko Chicago [Instagram]
- All Coverage of Kyoten Sushiko [EATX]