Gaijin Restaurant

Traverse City, Michigan

“Even though our current restaurants are doing very well in terms of hard and soft metrics, we are still young from a traditional banking perspective. Northern Initiatives looks at the big picture.” -Simon Joseph, Owner of Gaijin Restaurant

Restaurateur Simon Joseph of Traverse City is at it again. Joseph is the owner/operator of Roaming Harvest (a sought-after mobile food truck) and Harvest (a busy brick and mortar restaurant) – both in Traverse City, Michigan. His newest venture, Gaijin Restaurant, on the coveted 100 block of Front Street, is expected to open mid-late May 2016.

 

“Gaijin” loosely translates to “foreign person” in Japanese, but Joseph and his team are showing once again that they are no strangers to success. Wanting to build on the momentum and interest in his current restaurants, and a growing regional food culture, Joseph worked with his executive chef to find a concept for a new business. “Asian comfort food is sweeping the East and West coasts. It will find its way to the Midwest and we wanted to be on the leading edge of that trend,” Joseph says.

 

Once a concept was researched and determined, Joseph reached out to Northern Initiatives for capital. “Even though our current restaurants are doing very well in terms of hard and soft metrics, we are still young from a traditional banking perspective. Northern Initiatives looks at the big picture. They felt we were a great bet.” After providing financing for the first two restaurants, Northern Initiatives could wager on Joseph’s solid ambition and experience. In October 2015, financing was approved.

 

The tipping point for Gaijin was securing a 1,850 square foot location in the powerhouse section of downtown Traverse City. Joseph, a contractor by trade, is currently renovating the space for the 45 seat restaurant that will serve lunch, dinner and late night menus. Like the successful Roaming Harvest and Harvest models, foods will incorporate locally produced ingredients. However, Gaijin will feature Asian noodle dishes prepared in an open kitchen. Prices will be inexpensive to moderate with an emphasis on quick turnover and take-out orders. A liquor license has been approved.

 

Get your chopsticks ready, Traverse City. Gaijin is destined to be your new go-to.

 

Gaijin Restaurant Impacts

  • Jobs Created: 8 Full-time, 4 Part-time
    • Launched a New Business