Mikuni reopens after expansion

Mikuni reopens after expansion

Photo Credits: ZOË REINHARDT / AGGIE. Mikuni at the Davis Commons recently expanded their restaurant into the space previouly occupied by a GAP retail store. (Photo by Zoe Reinhardt / Aggie)

New restaurant is still as busy as before, increasing sales by thousands a day

Mikuni, a Japanese restaurant in Davis, has completed its expansion and moved from Suite 11 to Suite 19 in Davis Commons. The new restaurant officially opened on Oct. 26, about a two-month delay in the moving project schedule.

Kimberly Yoon, the general manager of Davis Mikuni, said the expansion was out of necessity.

“We didn’t expect to be as busy as we were in the past couple [of] years,” Yoon said. “But slowly, we started to realize that we need a bigger space.”

According to Yoon, Mikuni finished the transition from the old location to the new one within three days. She described the moving process as seamless.

“We did kind of like a quiet opening,” Yoon said. “We didn’t make a huge announcement so that it would smoothly fall into place — which it did lovely.”

After expansion, the daily sales of Mikuni have increased by the thousands. Yoon said they are still as busy as before.

“Even on the weekends, people joke that we need a bigger space,” Yoon said.

The new Mikuni has not only increased seating for customers, but it also enlarged the kitchen and storage space in the back to better prepare for the rush.

Sarah Sun, a server who has worked at this Mikuni location for two-and-a-half years, said it was more efficient to work at the new place.

“In the old location, there were lots of things going on in the back — a very tight space,” Sun said. “It was very crowded, and everyone was running around and bumping into each other.”

Sun described the new Mikuni as more organized.

“Basically, all the stuff for servers are in one area,” Sun said. “And all the stuff for fryers and cooks — as well as sushi bar — are all put separately.”

Scarlett Kroencke, a regular customer who eats at Mikuni once a week, said the new restaurant is stunning.

“I think the new Mikuni is beautiful,” Kroencke said. “And it’s a little bit more sterile than the old place.”

Isaac Yang, a Mikuni customer and a third-year applied mathematics and economics double major, said his favorite part of the new Mikuni is the bar area.

“It feels very cozy,” Yang said. “We can have more interaction with the bartender and people who sit next to us.”

Some parts of the new location are still under construction, such as the patio area. Yoon said this will be done in a few months, which will allow even more customers to eat at Mikuni.

The new Mikuni also kept some pieces of the old one — it’s a “modern look, but with the same Mikuni feel,” Yoon said.

Mikuni has been in business at Davis Commons since April 2009, when it first opened during a Picnic Day weekend. As a former UC Davis student, Yoon said she was surprised to see the long-lasting success of Mikuni in the Davis community.

“It’s shocking because — especially in this Davis Commons center — we’ve seen a lot of restaurants come and go,” Yoon said. “We are lucky because we’ve been successful, and we are very grateful for it.”

Although Davis has many other Japanese restaurants, Yoon said Mikuni has its own distinctive features, and the main customers of Mikuni have been permanent Davis and Woodland residents. 

“We have Yakitori Yuchan across the street, but I think we both pick up different types of demographics,” Yoon said. “People pick and choose their days, but I think we’re able to not conflict too much when it comes to that.”

With adding DoorDash, a door-to-door delivery service, as part of the new Mikuni, Yoon said it will be more convenient for young families to eat at Mikuni as well. 

Written by: Rui Ding — city@theaggie.org

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