Side dish: Authentic Japanese coming next year 

Surpassing sushi

Though as a mobile food business, My Fair Niece (myfairniece.com) is only 16 weeks old, owners Colin and Naoko Hueston trace their recipes' heritage back to 1774. For nine generations, Naoko's family has run an Itako, Japan-based eatery called Shimizuya, through old wars and recent earthquakes.

The Huestons, currently vending at the Colorado Farm and Art Market, hope to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, likely also called Shimizuya, sometime in early 2012. Colin says he imagines introducing eaters to authentic Japanese entrées, beyond the common sushi, tempura and other items with which Americans are familiar; items, perhaps, like okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes), beyond the korokke (meat, seafood or veggies fried into mashed potato croquettes) they're already selling at CFAM.

Shimizuya plans to use local produce and meat via CFAM, and also to offer a wide range of house-made Japanese confections, with the help of Naoko's parents.

Wider smile

Business has been good for Smiley's Bakery and Café (323 N. Tejon St., smileysbakerycafe.com) owner Amy Graham, so much so that she's nearly doubling her restaurant space. Graham says it will likely be another couple of weeks until she's finished with painting, decorating and organizing some 1,400 square feet of what once was Edifice Gallery. She anticipates seating closer to 80 people; currently she holds around 45.

A Fräulein on Fillmore

Mitch and Anke Verburg, the owners of Elke's German Deli and Schnitzel Fritz, are opening a third local German culinary venture, off Fillmore Street. The 3,500-square-foot Old German Bakery, at 3320 El Paso Place, should be open by month's end, but not to us; it will be a wholesale operation meant for distributing to the Verburgs' other outfits and other local food stops, including neighboring outfit Ranch Foods Direct.

Anke says that ever since Old Heidelberg closed, we've lacked a serious German confectionery for items like tortes, though Wimberger's Old World Bakery and Delicatessen still caters to most other Deutschland desires. So she's solicited the help of newly transplanted master pastry chef Wolfgang Pontes, who brings more than 30 years experience from the homeland, she says.

Anke says Pontes will produce "all the different things going on in Germany right now," meaning contemporary items like organic, healthy breads in addition to traditional offerings, such as "real German cheesecake."

Indy food writer Monika Mitchell Randall, of German heritage, says she's already ventured to Schnitzel Fritz four times for Pontes' bienenstich (bee sting cake): "He is a master," she confirms.


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