After closing its doors for remodeling work at the beginning of the year, Kobe Hibachi & Sushi in Fort Oglethorpe will show off its newly renovated space when it reopens this week.
This is the first major rehaul of the space since it was established about a decade ago, said Copper Lin, manager at the Japanese restaurant.
Along with some touches to the exterior, the redesign includes changes to the walls, floor and lighting in the dining area intended to create a more comfortable atmosphere, Lin said. Rearrangements to the layout of the dining area also allow for more open space and greater seating capacity, he added.
Lin said 90 percent of the menu will remain the same, with a few new appetizers in the works. Among those new dishes are options such as chicken katsu, or wontons, which Lin said proved to be a popular offering in the past.
"Basically, the menu will look a little bit different, but it will still stay the same," he said.
Kobe Hibachi & Sushi made headlines in November when it was temporarily shut down after failing its health inspection with a score of 31. Health inspection records show the restaurant had received good to average marks on its routine inspections for two years prior to the incident.
According to the November report, employees were not washing their hands when changing tasks, there was no hand soap and hand sink, employees were eating and drinking during prep, there were multiple severely dented cans, workers could not provide proof of origin for the tuna being used as sushi, and menu items were misrepresented; specifically, tilapia was being presented as either mackerel or red snapper.
The issues reported were subsequently addressed, as confirmed by a follow-up inspection conducted toward the end of the same month, which gave the restaurant a score of 97. Reports from the most recent health inspection, dated Jan. 4, show a score of 94, though it came as a follow-up to a failed routine inspection scored at 67 the week before.
"Once the [renovations] are ready, everything will be up to standards," Lin said, noting changes he plans to make to housekeeping to prevent the recorded issues from reoccurring in the future. "It's our top priority."
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