Biwa, a long-standing member of the Eater 38, opened in 2007 and has been wooing diners ever since with its subterranean dining den, reminiscent of izakayas in Tokyo. Biwa has built its name on izakaya dishes, one famous and elusive burger, and its ramen, and owners Gabe Rosen and Kina Voelz also operate sister restaurant Noraneko and the seasonal pop-up, Kotori. Now, Biwa’s pulling one serious switcheroo.
Welcome Parasol Bar, which will be a new “Japanese cafe and noodle” bar and take over the venue formerly home to Biwa, according to the press release. When it broke the news, PoMo wrote Parasol will have a lounge vibe with a DJ booth and a focus on a casual and affordable menu. Parasol Bar hopes to open by November.
But Biwa isn’t closing — just moving down the hall to a 600-square-foot space in the same building. Biwa is getting a new name, Biwa Izakaya, to reflect a new focus: more izakaya and sashimi, no ramen (PoMo says ramen will be available only at Noraneko moving forward). Joining the kitchen are chef Carl Krause, from Noraneko, and David Padberg, who cooked at Park Kitchen for years and helped open Raven & Rose, before departing for a stint in Santa Fe.
“We will be doing an even more innovative and traditional sashimi and raw bar,” write Rosen and Voelz in the press release. “We designed a fun and sophisticated new omakase experience.” Biwa Izakaya will be intimate. The bar menu will focus on highballs and old fashioneds, with an expert list of beer, sake, whiskey, and shochu designed by Biwa manager Kelsey Bowen.
Biwa Izakaya will open its doors on October 16, the same day the old Biwa will close to transition to Parasol Bar.