Baru Set to Open, Add to Dining Scene in Downtown Cincinnati

Posted on March 28, 2023 by sujvary

Elevated Sushi and Cocktail Concept Focuses on Atmosphere, Unique Menu

CINCINNATI (March 29, 2023) – Baru, an elevated sushi concept from hospitality management company Further Concepts and Investors, is set to open Friday in the 84.51° building. The unique new concept is being opened in partnership with Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) and will be located at 595 Race Street.

Baru, which is opening in a space previously occupied by Midici, is heavily concentrated on its bar. The team meticulously perfected and strategically placed the bar to be a focal point within the space. Baru’s atmosphere was inspired by izakaya, or the beloved Japanese establishments where one can stay, drink, and unwind with friends long into the night. An omakase meal is one where guests leave dining decisions up to the chef, and the omakase bar is where Baru’s culinary team will operate; it’s the heart of stay-and-drink sushi.

“We really wanted to make this spot our own – not just occupy the former operator’s space,” owner Tyler Wogenstahl said. “We’ve worked with some amazing partners to reinvent the space and we can’t wait to welcome customers looking for a curated dining experience in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.”

The restaurant will bring a unique, sophisticated-yet-approachable menu to the Cincinnati market, with fresh fish flown in daily. American and Japanese wagyu will highlight a menu that offers fun, shareable items and allows patrons to leave more excited about food than they perhaps were when they entered. Notable menu items include:

  • Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna
  • Fried Chicken and Caviar
  • Champagne and Scallops
  • Lobster Buttered Toast
  • Ishiyaki

“I’m a food nerd, and I get excited about teaching people about food, where it comes from, and how and why it’s made,” Chef Robert Grace, who is heading up the culinary team at Baru, said. “I love amazing ingredients that stand out. Getting people to try items they might never have had and seeing their eyes light up. That’s why I do this. That’s what Baru will do.”

Chef Grace developed Baru’s menu utilizing his excitement for Japanese cuisine. Having grown up in Tennessee and Georgia, his training is steeped in rich, Southern cooking. He evolved and sharpened his skills in both Providence, Rhode Island, and Nashville’s thriving food scenes, where he worked as a sous chef and chef de cuisine under multiple James Beard Award winners. Chef Grace’s accolades include Gayot’s Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S.; Nashville Scene’s Iron Fork Audience Award; and Best Steak, Best of the Best, and Best Restaurant from Nashville Lifestyles. As Director of Culinary Operations for M Street Restaurant Group, he graced the menus of five M Streets concepts.

Baru’s menu will change with the seasons, so returning guests have something new to experience. Wogenstahl wants Baru to be a place where people go for a date, a celebration, or just because, noting that the DNA of the concept is based on his experience within the hospitality industry.

Understanding there’s no need to overcomplicate a good thing, Baru will take a classic approach to its cocktail menu. It will feature spirit-forward cocktails that are both welcoming and refined and will showcase good things that come out of a bottle: wine, sake, and champagne.

“We’re excited for Tyler to unveil this new concept, which is really focused on creating a great experience for patrons no matter what they’re looking for – delicious food, drinks for happy hour or after-dinner dessert and cocktails,” Lindzie Gunnels, Commercial Leasing Manager for 3CDC. “As we continue to work to connect Fountain Square to the Convention Center District, we believe Baru will be a significant addition.”

Baru’s hours of operations will be Tuesday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Friday-Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Those looking to make a reservation will be able to do so on the restaurant’s website beginning today. There will be a grand opening celebration on Friday, April 14. The 4,600-square-foot space was designed by the internal Further Concepts team, with Charleston Millwork and JTF Construction acting as contractors.

The 84.51° building is a $140 million project developed for the headquarters of Kroger’s data analytics team that includes 280,000 square feet of office space for the company, a 1,100-space parking garage, and 30,000 square feet of commercial space. The project was completed in 2015, and its tenants include Mita’s, Maplewood Kitchen and Bar, Americano Burger Bar, and Tokyo Kitty.

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