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Jackson Ward restaurant space trades swine for fish

J. Elias O'Neal April 12, 2017 0

Fighting Fish will open at 317 N. Second St., in a storefront previously occupied by The Cultured Swine. (J. Elias O'Neal)

Fighting Fish will open at 317 N. Second St., in a storefront previously occupied by The Cultured Swine. (J. Elias O’Neal)

Two doors down from where he serves up rice bowls and kimchi, a local restaurateur is unrolling another new venture.

Jay Ko, co-owner of neighboring Korean eatery JKogi, is opening sushi joint Fighting Fish at 317 N. Second St. in space once occupied by The Cultured Swine. The 28-seat restaurant is set to open Wednesday.

Ko, who is running Fighting Fish with fellow managing operator Billy Han, hopes to introduce a “modern version of sushi” to the up-and-coming neighborhood, with menu items that include sushi donuts and sushi burritos.

He’ll also offer Poke – a Hawaiian mainstay served with cubed fish shami over vegetables and rice – shrimp ceviche, tempura dishes and spicy tuna nachos.

“The entire menu was born about five weeks ago,” Ko said. “We tried to make a menu that is going to cater to everyone’s palate.”

The Fighting Fish’s storefront is owned by local businessman Michael Ng, who owns much of that block and co-owns JKogi. It became vacant earlier this year when Cultured Swine left for the Grindstone Community Kitchen on Kensington Avenue in the Museum District.

Fighting Fish has applied for an ABC license, Ko said. Once approved, he said, the eatery will include about 16 wines, along with various Chinese and Japanese sakes and beers. Ko plans to hire eight to 10 employees.

Fighting Fish joins a number of new eateries setting up shop in Jackson Ward.

Jackson’s Beer Garden & Smokehouse at 119 E. Leigh St. opened last week. Saadia’s Juicebar & Yoga Studio is now open caddy corner to JKogi.

Ko said he looked at sites in Carytown and Church Hill to open Fighting Fish, but was drawn back to Jackson Ward because of the area’s continued development interest.

“Jackson Ward has done a complete 180 since we opened JKogi,” Ko said. “Give this area three to four more years, and it’s poised to do the same again. There is a lot of positive change happening here, and I’m glad we’re going to be a part of it.”

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