There is a burger. And then there is a Katsu Burger. The deep fried Japanese burger master is bringing its creations to Capitol Hill with plans to stuff your jolly Santa belly with an opening of the new restaurant (hopefully) before Christmas.
“By demand and popularity we thought Capitol Hill would be a perfect place to open,” Stephanie Kang tells CHS. After nearly two years of searching for the right kind of space, Katsu Burger will finally arrive.
Kang, who purchased the business from the old school Katsu Burger creator sushi chef Hajime Sato, will take over the space left empty by the financial implosion at The Old Sage. That upscale concept closed its doors in June as owner Brian McCracken struggled through a $2.4 million bankruptcy. McCracken’s Tavern Law still neighbors the coming soon Katsu Burger Capitol Hill home — it has been taken over by new ownership.
Katsu Burger was a sensation when it opened its first location in Georgetown in 2011 with “seaweed fries, green tea milkshakes, and fried pork cutlets on a bun.” After the original Kastsu shuttered, Kang acquired the business, reopened the original and set out on a path of expansion that has put Katsus on the Eastside and in Lynwood. Now the legend comes to Capitol Hill.
“If you use good ingredients, and add Japanese flavor to it, how can you not like it?” Kang says.
Kang said she had the business plan done and was on a lengthy search for a space on Capitol Hill that could make an easy turnaround home for a new Katsu Burger without the time and expense of a significant buildout. Kang said competition for the best of these built out spaces remains strong in the neighborhood. She’s hoping with no construction and with overhaul work focusing on lighting and paint — sorry Old Sage mural, you’re a goner — the new Katsu Burger will be open in weeks.
The arrival of Katsu Burger on 12th will put a significant empty commercial space back into motion with the closure of Gnocchi Bar about to open up another. The expansion joins another Seattle foodie legend now under new management setting its sights on the still busy Capitol Hill food and drink scene. Paseo Capitol Hill is coming to 10th and E Pike… soon.
Like Paseo, the new Katsu Burger hopes to cash in on the neighborhood’s bustling restaurant scene and also be a player with the nightlife crowds. Kang said the new Katsu will likely be open until 2 or 3 AM on weekends. It will also feature beer, wine, and sake. Cocktails, Kang said, could come once this new component in her Katsu Burger empire settles in.
The neighborhood and its nightlife culture won’t be completely new. Kang and husband Yousok Jung ran Sushi Kanpai on First Hill before selling the business in 2014. But being a nightlife owner might take some getting used to for the Edmonds resident.
“It’s crazy,” Kang said of her recent visit for a night on E Pike as they were working out the deal for the new location. “Oh my goodness, it’s a different world.”
Katsu Burger Capitol Hill is planned to open at 1410 12th Ave in December. You can learn more at katsuburger.com.