Friday, April 29, 2016

Umami opens in Lawrenceville.

After more than a year in development, Umami is finally open in Lawrenceville, writes Pittsburgh Magazine today.
“Everything fell through. Eclipse (an alternative location) fell through. Investors fell through. There were plenty of delays and obstacles once we started working in this space, too,” he says. Li spent the last year teasing Pittsburghers with line-out-the-door-popular pop-ups while he fought through the delays.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of izakaya, think of it as the Japanese equivalent to a really fun neighborhood pub: there’s crushable, inexpensive, but also well-prepared food that’s meant to go hand-in-hand with a good drink or two.

“After going to Japan many times and seeing the culture of street food and bar food that they have there, I decided I wanted to replicate that here. It’s never been done in Pittsburgh in the right way,” says Li, who from 2008-2015 was the executive chef of the now-closed Tamari. Umami marks a return to his culinary roots; before moving to Pittsburgh in 2005, Li was a sushi chef at Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia.