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Misuta Chow’s Recreates Yokocho Alley, Complete with 2nd Floor Arcade

Answer: One thousand eleven.

Question: How many steps to Misuta Chow’s from my house?

Christmas in July is almost here and I can’t fucking wait another minute.

The microsecond I heard the news that owner Johny Chow, and co-owners Christi Allen, and Lorenz Wustner, were recreating a Japanese yokocho alley a half mile from my apartment, I was beside myself with joy. Simultaneously, I swear I felt my liver bitch-slapping me in disgust. The dichotomy of emotions was both intense and sublime.

Since initially writing about the origins of Misuta Chow’s over a year ago, I have tried to keep up with progress as much as I could, rooting for the team to pull the restaurant together in a timely manner. I know, gutting a building and basically starting from scratch, always presents challenges, and it did, yet I remained in a state of positivity throughout.

Although I was eager to get updates, I didn’t want to text Johny, as he has been busy with his Stone Sour tour. I also didn’t bother Christi when I saw her out and about, because I knew she was spending a ridiculous amount of time and energy on the project, and probably needed a bit of an escape, when away from 521 Main Street. Ultimately, I would pop by ABV now and again to chat with Lorenz (which is always a treat) to get the latest scoop on progress.

For reasons unbeknownst to be, I found myself occasionally walking to the construction site, to peek in the windows. I suppose I was looking for any new signs of construction on the inside, or any new enhancements to the facade of the building. When was this place going to open? When would I be able to sip a fine Japanese whisky while playing Space Invaders? As luck would have it, I was strolling by earlier this week and Christi happened to be milling about out front. I figured that this was a sign that it must almost be time – I didn’t know if I could wait much longer.

Knowing how excited I was, Christi invited me in for a quick preview, despite a decent amount of construction debris scattered throughout the restaurant-arcade. Looking past the unfinished work, I could clearly see that Misuta Chow’s is going to be something special. Everything that had been described to me in the past was now coming to life. The narrow bar on the first floor took on the appearance of a traditional yokocho alley, complete with the red lanterns, and wooden eaves, reminiscent of the rooftops of Omoide Yokocho (aka “Piss Alley”) in Tokyo, where scenes from Blade Runner were filmed.

The attention to detail at Misuta Chow’s is exceptional. There’s a payphone in the back that has a direct line to the front bar. Christi explained to me that when the phone is ringing, it might be one of the bartenders beckoning a patron to have a drink on the house. There’s also a ‘wish tree’, where customers can write out their wishes the Christi will adhere to the “tree”, in hopes that their dreams come true. These are just a couple of reasons that Misuta Chow’s will be different. I hear that the servers will be dressed in authentic Japanese garb. And the food… I can’t wait to tasteExecutive Chef Dunbar Berdine’s Japanese-inspired street food cooking, complete with custom bento boxes! Not to mention Chow’s private label scotch, with his signature mouse skull design on the bottle.

As I mentioned, there are still some final touches underway at Misuta Chow’s, but the bones are pretty much in place. That means that we’re only days away from seeing this establishment in action. Christi says that they will open to public for sneak peek on July 14 when Chow returns from tour, with a Grand Opening (full menu) on August 3. The next nine days will fly by – then it will be time to sample some of their sake infused specialty drinks and cold pressed coffee on tap. Oh, and play a couple of video games at the second floor pub-arcade (with a balcony that overlooks Main Street).

If you play your numbers right, you will find yourself paying a visit to Misuta Chow’s for any number of reasons. Me? My number will be 1011, and I’ll be counting down those microseconds when it’s time to take that final step in through the front door and into this sensational rabbit hole.

Pinball games are loaded via phone app


Written by Jim Kupczyk

Jim Kupczyk

founder of and current passions include: mindfulness, energy healing, eastern philosophy, buffalo’s rise and japanese whiskey. born raised school - buffalo. contact jim kupczyk l

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