Old Union Space Is Turning Japonessa, Transformation Nearly Complete.

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Billy Beach doing his thing at Kushibar.
Have you heard about the new Japanese fusion restaurant going into Ethan Stowell's vacated Union? It's called Japonessa. If all goes well, it will open July 12.

"We think the space has a lot of potential. Union itself was successful. It wasn't because of a lack of success that it closed," says Japonessa General Manager Yuriko Say. "With the Four Seasons, SAM, and Benaroya Hall surrounding us, and new businesses like Chase and Nordstrom moving into the neighborhood, we have very good demo stats for our business. Also, we are close enough to everything to capitalize on foot traffic, yet far enough away from other sushi places in downtown and Belltown to not have to worry about competition."

Say says the space will look different, but not totally. "It will definitely have our own flair. However, we're not doing a complete overhaul. The structure and basic floor layout will pretty much remain the same; the major change, of course, being the sushi bar that's going in where the half open kitchen used to be."

Billy Beach, formerly of Umi Sake House and Kushibar, will be the chef.

"(Japonessa) is a sushi cocina. Billy is highlighting his Japanese culinary talents, and then is also throwing in some Latin fusion, mixing in elements of heat, spice and citrus," says Say. "We will, of course, feature a full sushi bar, and the menu boasts Billy's innovative roll creations, impressive raw bar selections, and kitchen offerings that include both Japanese fusion tapas and entrees."

Japonessa will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, and happy hour will run daily from 11:30am-6:30pm, and then in the bar from 6:30pm-8pm. That means it's pretty much all-day, everyday happy hour at this joint! Japonessa will also offer a late night happy hour from 10pm-1am, Thursday through Saturday.

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