Dining With Denise Neil

Popular Wichita restaurant, closed for a year, about to be reborn

When Sake closed back in March 2016, its loyal customers were distraught.

They’d grown to love the little sushi restaurant run by Lee Li and her sushi chef husband, Leo Lin, at 2140 W. 21st St., and they especially loved the couple’s friendly, welcoming hospitality.

It’s been a long wait, but Li and Lin are back. They’re opening their new sushi restaurant, Sapporo, in a week in a new spot at 8065 E. Peachtree Lane. That’s on the north-facing side of the strip center on the northeast corner of Kellogg and Rock.

Initially, the couple had hoped to have the restaurant open by last fall, but remodeling their gutted space took more time than they expected. While they waited for the space to take shape, they traveled overseas, and Lin advanced his sushi chef training.

On Thursday, the couple invited a group of their most loyal former customers for a sneak preview of the new restaurant, which seats about 80 and features upscale finishes and a large sushi bar.

The couple treated their guests to samples of many of their old menu favorites, from sushi rolls to curry dishes. They also put on display one of their signature items: a giant bamboo boat filled with eight pieces of sushi and 12 pieces of sashimi with an angel roll and a spicy tuna roll. Called “Love Boat for Two,” the treat costs $48.95.

The menu will remain mostly the same from before, Li said, with a few additions. The restaurant doesn’t have its liquor license yet but should in a couple of weeks, when the couple will resume serving their dramatic, sharable drinks, including my favorite – a “margarita lake” served in a giant bowl-like vessel with multiple extra-long straws that reach across the table.

Sapporo’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It will be closed on Sundays except for Mother's Day and Father’s Day.

For more information, call 316-977-8808.