Today Uchiko is one year old. My what a year it’s been. In the past 12 months with the opening of Uchiko we’ve seen the new restaurant grow, change and evolve. I’m sure many more tweeks ahead, but happy to have the first year past us….a current staff of fantastic people and talent, i couldn’t be more excited to see what the second year has to bring.
A few highlights from Uchiko year one:
1. opening in July with over a month of reserved seating and invites from list compiled through all of our staff and our Uchi database. The baby got thrown in the deep end of the pool from the get go!
2. Staff changes: lost my GM, head sushi chef and a number of key people within the first 3 months. Revenue wasn’t up to expectations in the beginning…i asked everyone to be patient….and then….
3. Word of mouth spread. North Austin although expected, was a much different challenge than south of the river as we had done before. We worked diligently to study, improve and make necessary menu changes including bringing 7 key signature dishes over from Uchi upon demand.
4. By the spring Uchiko was getting hitting stride. Food was gaining pace, a daily special sheet had begun, and
service was improving daily and we started to see the most important necessary change for longevity: regulars that lived near by. The neighborhood peeps are the lifeblood of any successful restaurant.
5. Then suddenly the James Beard nominations came out and both Phil and Paul and myself were all named! But best of all: Best new restaurant nom in America: Uchiko, as well!
6. Within weeks a buzz had been had. Danny Devito worked the whole floor at Uchiko one service with Rosario Dawson, and Andy Roddick was suddenly a regular. Uchiko started to set full bloom and show it’s potential self.
7. The culmination came in NYC with the James Beard awards in May when i was honored to win the best chef in Southwest USA category, on my 4th nomination and first time finalist. Speechless. A night in New York that night that i’ll never forget. Pride was shinning out of my pours, and i was elated to have Paul and Philip both there with me. There’s are still to come i’m sure…
Thanks to everyone that’s put in all the work and dedication over the past year into helping Uchiko become what it is today….and even more so thanks to our guests and loyal cliental that give us the reason to get out of bed every day to chase perfection in every bite. Onto year 2!