MF Sushi’s Alex Kinjo is working on opening a restaurant in Atlanta, having recently opened Kinjo Room and omakase bar at the Interlock on Howell Mill Road and Mai Kitchen in Virginia-Highland.
Last week, Yakitori Kona joined Mai Kitchen at Virginia-Highland, taking over the space formerly home to Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on the corner of Virginia and North Highland. Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit closed in 2022 after nearly seven years amid rising rents and operating costs.
Kenjo Yakitori describes Kona as an “intimate izakaya cocktail bar” that serves grilled Japanese skewers and twists on classic cocktails from veteran Atlanta bartender James Wampler. Chef Hugo Valdez, who has worked at MF Sushi, Craft Izakaya, and Kinjo Room, offers a selection of chargrilled skewers such as lemon pepper, fried chicken skins seasoned with togarashi seasoning, and charred filet with yuzu kosho chimichurri. The restaurant uses Japanese white charcoal on a grill imported from Japan, which can reach 900 degrees. All yakitori are served with three dipping sauces.
Other dishes include whole squid with tare sauce, takoyaki, and Japanese pickles accompanied by yamagobu or takuan, along with traditional Japanese skewers such as chicken hearts. A late-night menu is also being prepared featuring dishes such as Japanese curry or tataki rice dishes with Japanese pickles.
Look for cocktails from Wampler like the lychee-flavored martini in the “Yes, Yes You Do” with a shochu base, the blackberry daiquiri with goat cheese foam, and the “I’ll have a traditional drink made with Japanese whiskey infused with charred orange.”
Yakitori Kona is currently open for dinner, with lunch expected to follow in a few weeks.
Take a look at the list below:
Open Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 5pm to 10pm; Thursday – Saturday, 5pm – 11pm
1004 Virginia Street, Atlanta. yakitorikona.com.