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2. Uchiko_hearth roasted oysters.jpg Hai Hospitality
Hearth-roasted oysters are topped with koji creamed spinach and ponzu.

Hai Hospitality open Uchiko in Plano, Texas, with more restaurants on the way

The Austin-based restaurant group enlists a “mother-offspring” strategy to operate multiple concepts in select markets

Since Uchi opened in Austin in 2003, Hai Hospitality — the group behind Uchi and its growing stable of restaurants — has expanded across Texas and into markets including Miami, Denver, and Los Angeles. 

The hospitality group’s latest opening is Uchiko in Plano, Texas, which marks Hai Hospitality’s fifth Dallas-area location. It debuted June 18 in the bustling Legacy West development, joining Uchi and Uchiba in Uptown Dallas and Loro in East Dallas and Addison. The space seats 175 diners across the dining room, bar, and sushi bar, and the design incorporates rich woods, leathers, and upholstery while taking visual cues from the Texas prairie.

Steffen Perico leads the kitchen as chef de cuisine, while Dale Park is head sushi chef. Executive pastry chef Ariana Quant leads the pastry program for all Uchi family concepts, and beverage director Jason Kosmas oversees the drinks.

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Chef de cuisine Steffen Perico leads the Uchiko Plano kitchen.

Uchiko means “child of Uchi” in Japanese. Its menu takes significant inspiration from Uchi, but it balances out the fresh and clean flavors of its sister concept with the smoked and charred offerings courtesy of the restaurant’s wood-fired hearth.

“When we first opened Uchiko in 2010 in Austin, it was an extension of what we were doing at Uchi,” founding chef and owner Tyson Cole said in a statement. “It has evolved organically, spurred on by the creativity of our staff and their desire to experiment with new techniques and flavors. I love what we are doing with fire and smoke at Uchiko, and I am really looking forward to what Chef Steffen and the team will do in Plano.”

Uchiko’s culinary team enlists the hearth to cook dishes like roasted lobster with tom kha (creamy and spicy coconut soup) and king trumpet mushrooms, grilled sea bass with brown butter dashi (Japanese stock) and fennel, and a variety of beef cuts, including A5 rib cap from Japan, seared New York strip wagyu, and Texas coulotte (Picanha). The menu also features a selection of nigiri, sashimi, and makimono, plus hot tastings, cold tastings, tempura and vegetables.

The drinks menu is stocked with a thoughtful selection of wines, beers, and sakes, plus cocktails like the Kumori with Japanese vodka, sake, lychee, and yuzu; and the Kenja Old Fashioned with Japanese whisky, amaro, vermouth, and bitters.

Hai Hospitality chief brand officer Amber Quist explained that Uchiko’s child of Uchi theme is loosely tied to how the company thinks about its brands and their respective places in a market.

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A spread of dishes at Uchiko in Plano.

“Opening a market with Uchi, the mother brand, allows us to share with our guests our style of food and hospitality before introducing the offspring concept, which is related, but different,” Quist said.

This way, guests can experience what Quist calls “Uchi hospitality” across a variety of occasions. 

“The benefit of multiple concepts is that we allow our guests many ways to access an Uchi experience, whether that be a more bar-forward izakaya-style dining experience, dining in a group setting with larger dishes for the table, or going on an intimate date enjoying an omakase,” Quist said. “Additionally, the reason we opened a sister concept in the first place was to allow our team members to grow their careers within the family. We remain committed to doing that, and having multiple concepts within a city allows our team to cross-train, collaborate, and have advancement opportunities.”

Quist added that Hai Hospitality is not looking to add additional concepts to the brand portfolio at this time, but they are always looking at new opportunities for existing concepts. That includes opening Uchiko Miami Beach later this year and Uchiko Cherry Creek in Denver in 2024. Loro is also in expansion mode, with second locations opening in Houston and Austin later this year. 

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