A new restaurant from Lake & Oak Neighborhood BBQ owners Todd Richards and Joshua Lee called Kuro replaces Hazel Jane’s wine bar this spring at the Edge complex along the Eastside Beltline trail. Hazel Jane’s closed last September after less than a year. The closure was partially due to the financial troubles stemming from the ongoing health crisis.
Located next to chef Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant Cold Beer, Kuro will focus on seafood and serve a mix of Japanese fare and ingredients fused with Soul food dishes. Both chefs say they have great “respect” for Japanese cuisine and experience with recipe development and the cooking of Japanese foods.
Once open, the menu for Kuro plans to offer seafood dishes and a makimono sushi experience with Soul food dishes incorporating Japanese ingredients and techniques. Dishes likely to make the menu include a vadouvan-spiced cauliflower steak and Richards’ collard green ramen, listed in his cookbook “Soul: A Chef’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes.
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The chefs plan to place a greater emphasis on takeout and outdoor seating and tables and bar seating closest to the two roll-up doors facing the Beltline during the pandemic. Masks will be required for both staff and diners. While a firm opening date has yet to be confirmed, they hope to open some time in mid-March.
“The word Kuro means Black in Japanese. Bringing this unique style of food to the Beltline while expanding its list of Black-owned dining opportunities is something to be proud of,” Lee says in a prepared statement. “Opening three restaurants in a pandemic in nine months time was not the plan. It’s an honor to employ members of our community during this time and bring comforting options to the rest of our neighbors.”
Richards and Lee, who own the Soulful Company restaurant group, open their second venture together, Soul: Food and Culture, on Monday, February 1, at Krog Street Market. The food stall replaces Richards’ Southern Fried, where Richards served Nashville-style hot chicken since 2016. The partners opened East Lake barbecue restaurant Lake and Oak last summer at the Hosea and 2nd complex.