Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Japanese steakhouse taking over former McGoon's space downtown

Japanese steakhouse taking over former McGoon's space downtown

Yong Hao Liu, owner of the popular Ichi Tokyo restaurants, is cooking up a new concept for fine dining in downtown Rochester. 

Fuji Japanese Steakhouse and Seafood will be located in the historic Olmsted County Bank and Trust Building, 7 Second Street Southwest. Fuji will offer a different menu than Yong's other restaurants — though he says the commitment to using fresh food will remain the same.

The building, most recently home to McGoon's Pub and Goonie's Comedy Club, has sat vacant since summer 2016. It was purchased by Mike and A.J. Hawkins in February 2017 for $1.5 million. 

"Yong's new Japanese Steakhouse and Seafood concept is going to bring a completely new experience to downtown Rochester," said A.J. Hawkins.

Work to refurbish the building is already under way. Plans call for creating a mezzanine-style opening between the two floors, so diners on the second level can look down at the kitchen. The windows are also being replaced to allow for more natural light. With each change, Hawkins said, crews are being intentional about preserving the building's historic character.

"The historic preservation of the Olmsted County Bank and Trust Building is going to play a huge part of the atmosphere by bringing back many great attributes the building previously had when occupied by Tinklers Restaurant," he said, referring to the former restaurant that held down the space through the 1970s and '80s.

Fuji is expected to open this fall. For Liu, who immigrated to the U.S. from China in 1992, this will be his third restaurant in Rochester. He opened Ichi Tokyo's south location in 2012, and the north spot two years later.

Cover photo: Yong Hao Liu / Med City Beat

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