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Top Local Sushi Chef to Star at New Wabi Sabi on Covington's Madison Avenue

"Maybe we can just make this place 'AsiaTown'," joked Steve Jones, a co-owner of a forthcoming sushi restaurant on Madison Avenue in Covington.

Wabi Sabi will open directly next to longtime downtown Covington staple Riverside Korean and a block north from KungFood Chu's AmerAsia, a wildly popular destination for lunch and dinner.

Jones and his team, who are occupying the space that previously housed Geez'l Pete's and Deadwood Saloon before that, hope to add to shining stars of Asian restaurants on Madison. With sushi chef Charlie Choi at the helm, that is a solid possibility. Choi is known to sushi enthusiasts in Cincinnati for Dancing Wasabi in Hyde Park, an operation that ended with some legal difficulties.

He then went on to Mr. Sushi.

With a popular half-price sushi offering, Choi has become a well-known entity. He was not made available to talk for this story.

"What he does chef-wise, cannot compare in this town," Jones said. "He's top five."

Jones, his partners, and Choi have a long history of working in the restaurant business together and now they are striking out on their own at 508 Madison Avenue. The team has spent the past few weeks cleaning, painting, and preparing. Jones thinks that after the final piece of plumbing is installed, Wabi Sabi will be ready to open its doors. That is about a month away, he said.  

He sees great possibilities based on the proximity to Riverside and AmerAsia as well as the closeness to the riverfront hotels and convention center. The menu will also include pad thai and other Asian cuisine inspired by recipes from China, Japan, and Korea. 

There will be a sushi bar in the front and a full-service cocktail bar, too. 

"We are eager to open this up," Jones said.

Story & photo by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News