After months of work, a $2 million revamp of a 99-year-old downtown Rochester building is expected to open as a new restaurant called Fuji in early 2019.
Med City restaurateur Yong Hao Liu, who owns Rochester’s two popular Ichi Tokyo sushi restaurants, is creating classic Japanese seafood, sushi and steakhouse at 7 Second St. SW. That’s the historic building that once housed the Olmsted County Bank and Trust.
Goonie’s Comedy Club and the McGoon’s Taxi Co. restaurant was the most recent occupant.
Mike and A.J. Hawkins, a Rochester father and son business partnership, owns the building. Liu is leasing it to create a two-story, 7,000-square-foot restaurant.
“I’m very confident in how the work is going,” said Liu. “I think the atmosphere combined with the food will really make it stand out.”
He hopes to open the doors within the next two or three months.
The renovations have re-created a second floor mezzanine area open in the center. A chandelier hangs in the center of the building to illuminate both floors.
The menu will focus on classic seafood, steak and sushi fare as well as more trendy poké and ramen dishes.
Fuji will seat 205 diners, have a full bar and a space for special events or meetings. Liu expects to need a team of 80 employees to staff it.
A new skyway entrance has also been added to make it more convenient for visitors and downtown workers to access it.
Liu added that Fuji will offer quick lunch options in addition to its full evening offerings.
The Hawkins duo purchased the empty building in early 2017 for $1.5 million.
The building dates from 1918 and originally was the Olmsted County Bank and Trust. It remained a bank until 1965. After that, it was home to Tinkler’s Restaurant from the 1970s to 1989, Waters Bar and Grill in 1990, the Clubhaus Brew Pub from 1995 to 1997, and O’Neill’s Pizza Pub from 2000 to 2005.