After 17 years on Eddy Street, Miyake — one of Collegetown’s two sushi restaurants and home of #10 on The Sun’s 161 Things list — has closed its doors.
With windows papered over and doors locked, the establishment joins Stella’s, Aladdin’s and other eateries which shuttered this year, as Ithaca reimagines its culinary scene. Taking Miyake’s place is Masita, a new Pan-Asian restaurant opening this February.
“Miyake was more focused on sushi with a side of Korean dishes,” said Jin Kim, who co-owns the new Masita with Jeesoo Lee. “We’re going to emphasize Korean and Pan-Asian cuisine with a side of Japanese.”
The two plan to introduce dishes they developed during their seven-year partnership operating a series of restaurants in South Korea, hoping their experience will give them a leg-up over Collegetown’s many other Asian eateries.
“We have a few items we’ve developed on our own. There’s nowhere else you can taste some of our signature sauces,” Kim said. “I think that will give us a bit of an edge.”
She and Lee plan to open the restaurant during the second week of February, after they complete decorative renovations — something Kim, who studied interior design, said she considers as important as the revamped menu.
Despite the Masita owners’ excitement, some Cornellians were disappointed to see Miyake leave.
“They had these amazing 40 percent-off deals every Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Caroline Mameesh ’20, a self-described “super fan” of Miyake who lives a few blocks away from the establishment.
“I was going to go the week after I got back — I mean what better way to start the semester? — and was so disappointed when I saw the place had closed,” Mameesh said.
Still, Masita’s owners are optimistic about their chances in Ithaca.
Kim said the pick of location was a serendipitous choice. She was considering opening an establishment in Cincinnati up until summer 2019. They found the location after the daughter of Miyake’s owner approached her and Lee to ask if they knew anyone who’d like to take over the restaurant.
“She was looking for someone to buy and we were looking for a place, so we said, ‘Hmm, why not us?’” Kim recalled.
In transitioning from an urban scene to Ithaca, Collegetown feels like a “miniature village” to Kim –– but a “beautiful one at that.”
Masita — which means “delicious” in Korean — will offer sake bombs like Miyake, following the footsteps of the almost two-decades-old restaurant.