Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Restaurateur plans Asian restaurant

February 10, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Ando Asian Kitchen restaurant rendering
A partial rendering of Ando Asian Kitchen, which is planned for northwest Grand Rapids. Courtesy Rockford Construction

The owner of a popular sushi restaurant is planning to open a restaurant featuring a mix of Asian cuisine.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction said today that Ando Asian Kitchen is the final retail tenant planned for its mixed-use development on the west side of Grand Rapids, on the corner of Bridge Street NW and Turner Avenue, which will include a New Holland Brewing Co. taproom and Mitten State shop.

The development, which will feature 36 apartments, is expected to be open by this fall, with Ando expected to open Sept. 1.

Ando is the newest venture by Maru Sushi & Grill owner Robert Song.

The new restaurant will feature a variety of Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine.

The menu and experience will be different from Maru, Song said, including street-style food with small plates for sharing in a casual atmosphere.

The space will include a four-season room with open-air seating during warmer months and an outdoor patio, along with seating for 120 customers and a full bar with 24 taps.

The restaurant's name comes from Momofuku Ando, a Japanese inventor and businessman "considered to be one of the creators of instant noodles."

“As I strive to offer Asian comfort food at Ando, I thought it was fitting that I pay homage to Mr. Ando, who changed the way we eat,” Song said.

Song said that in 1964, seeking a way to promote the instant noodle industry, Ando founded the Instant Food Industry Association, which set guidelines for fair competition and product quality.

Maru Hospitality Group operates four Maru Sushi & Grill locations in Michigan, with a fifth in Kalamazoo in the works.

Song has been planning the new concept for some time, but was waiting for the perfect time to launch it.

He likes the west side’s growth potential and space for the restaurant.

Ando will be next to The Mitten State in the mixed-use development, adjacent to New Holland’s 40,000-square-foot pub.

Retail space is full in the new development, but there still is office space available.

“Businesses are drawn to this part of our community for many reasons,” said Mike Mraz, partner, real estate development, Rockford Construction. “It’s a walkable neighborhood with great shops and restaurants.” 

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