by Ian McNulty
It’s been a whole two months since a new restaurant has opened along the Freret Street commercial corridor, but for those starting to get antsy the wait for the next addition to the restaurant row here is nearly over.
Veteran local sushi chef Mitsuko Tanner and her business partners plan to open the Japanese restaurant and sushi bar Origami (5130 Freret St., 899-6532) for dinner on Thursday, Nov. 3.
Tanner has owned or been a partner in Japanese restaurants around New Orleans for years, starting with Shigure on Jeanette Street back in the 1990s. She was co-owner of Kyoto on Prytania Street for a time and was most recently sushi chef at the Little Tokyo on North Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City.
“This will be my fourth restaurant, and hopefully my retirement,” Tanner says with a laugh.
Her partners in the new venture include sushi chefs Masayuki Tsukikawa and Thaun Vu, who was formerly at Little Tokyo as well. The restaurant has a full bar and will feature a large selection of cold sakes. It will serve lunch and dinner daily.
Origami is opening at the address that had long been home to Friar Tucks, a college bar that Freret Street's boosters were glad to see go. The bar closed earlier this year after a string of run-ins with city officials for underage drinking and, in January, a murder just outside its doors.
The transformation from college dive bar to contemporary Japanese restaurant required a thorough renovation and for this work Tanner turned to a Freret Street neighbor, Matt Kohnke, a partner in the upscale cocktail lounge Cure who also runs the design/build firm MNK Construction.
This Saturday is time for the monthly Freret Market down at the other end of Freret, so as now seems to be the norm here, it’s also a chance to try out a new restaurant.