A new hibachi restaurant is expected to open in Cape Girardeau in early 2017 in the Town Plaza shopping center. Tom Kelsey of Lorimont Place Ltd., who brokered the lease, confirmed the finalized contract. But owner Dinah Agustin says Midori Japanese Cuisine is unlike Japanese grills in the area. "We're not going to have a grill on each table," Agustin said. Instead, the meals will be made to order on a grill set away from the seating. "The server will take your order, bring it to the chef, and they'll cook it right away," she said. "It will be very fresh." It's a tactic she uses in her other restaurant, Hiro Japanese Cuisine in Jonesboro, Arkansas. While there are people who enjoy the tableside performance of teppanyaki cooking, Agustin said she finds her patrons appreciate not having to wait for a table to fill before the cooking can begin. And they prefer being able to sit alone with their dining companions rather than rubbing elbows with strangers. "We've been open 7 1/2 years," she said of the success of her method. "We've done pretty good." On the grill, customers can expect traditional fare of Japanese hibachi restaurants, similar to what Agustin carries at Hiro: hibachi chicken, seafood or steak, or sukiyaki steak.
Off the grill, Midori will offer appetizers, soups and salads and a full sushi bar. "We have the best sushi here," Agustin said of her Jonesboro restaurant. Agustin chose to open her new restaurant in Southeast Missouri for the proximity to her current home -- it's about 2 1/2 hours between Cape Girardeau and Jonesboro, she said, which will allow her to travel between the two locations with relative ease. She also appreciated the general size of Cape Girardeau. "It looks like a growing city," Agustin said. "Not too big or too small." The new restaurant will fill the space left vacant by Bagger Dave's in 2014. Agustin said she was drawn to the property because of the location and the ample parking. Once she saw the location, Agustin said, she knew it was where the restaurant was meant to be. Midori Japanese Cuisine is tentatively expected to open in February, barring any unexpected hiccups.