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Freshstreet Takoyaki Opens in the Short North

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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When we polled our readers in December about their favorite food cart of the year, one stood out at the top of the list: Foodie Cart. Not content to just bring back their Japanese crepe cart, owners Kenny Kim & Misako Ohba decided to take things in a different direction this spring. As of yesterday, they’ve opened up Freshstreet Takoyaki at 1038 North High Street in the Short North (which doubles at Mikey’s Late Night Slice in the evening hours).

We recently spoke with Kenny to find out more about the new concept.

Q: For those who don’t know… what exactly is Takoyaki?

A: Takoyaki is the quintessential street food of Japan. It originated in Osaka about 75 years ago. It is basically a savory pancake ball with a piece of octopus, minced pickled ginger, tempura flakes, scallions, and konbu powder on the inside and takoyaki sauce, japanese mayo, seaweed powder, and bonito flakes on top. Takoyaki varies quite a bit in Japan. I would say ours is a mixture between Osaka style and Tokyo Style.

Q: So what led to the transformation from Crepe Cart to Takoyaki Stand in 2011?

A: The guys at the Small Business Beanstalk informed us about an opportunity to work with Mikey’s Late Night Slice & we started envisioning what we could do with the place. Originally, we were looking for a place to make crepes in the winter. After evaluating the situation (and a stupid car accident), we felt that takoyaki was a better fit in a small space, especially since most takoyaki businesses in Japan are run out of a hut or stand. The crepes would be a better fit in a cafe. Hopefully we meet a sugarmama or sugardaddy to make those dreams come true! So we put fOODIE cART on hold so that we could concentrate on making really good takoyaki. If all goes well we would like to run both concepts simultaneously and hire some crepe makers and takoyaki makers to help out.

Q: What sort of menu items can visitors expect to find?

A: We are starting off really simple. We have three choices right now: Tako(octopus), Japanese Sausage and Veggie Okonomiyaki Balls. We are very limited in what we can do right now due to the extra time it takes to make multiple types of flavors. There is a constant battle between variety and waiting time. We found that we could sear a thin piece of porkbelly onto the outside of a takoyaki ball and we should have those on the menu in a few weeks. We also have a few extra sauces on the side including traditional takoyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, Mentaiko mayo, hot mustard mayo and Korean mom sauce (Kojujang). We have a lot of other ideas on deck but unfortunately something has to be removed before anything can be added.

Q: What are the hours and days of operation?

A: Our hours are weekdays from 11:30am to 5:30pm and weekends from noon to 6pm. We’re closed on Tuesdays.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: I want to apologize to all the people that are patiently waiting for crepes. You must think we’re f#$%ing crazy for taking a successful idea and then dumping it for something that is super risky. We just want to do something different. It is fun for us to change concepts and we hope it is fun for you as well. We are two broke-ass Asians that want to go on a culinary adventure. Please don’t confuse this with brain damage.

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