Mishawaka’s newest Asian fusion restaurant, Daihido, is now open to the public.
The restaurant, at 4240 N. Main St., held its public soft opening Tuesday, June 16.
The most noticeable addition to the former Houlihan’s building is the new canopy greeting guests as they arrive. Daihido co-owner David Wang, a restaurateur with more than 20 years of industry experience, said the canopy’s construction, along with a complete renovation of the interior space and exterior touch-ups, totaled around $500,000.
“We took time to build this restaurant — inside and outside,” Wang said.
- RELATED: Daihido will be a new ‘happy place’ for Mishawaka sushi-lovers, March 16, 2015
4240 N. Main St., Mishawaka
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Wang estimates the restaurant’s seating capacity around 330 guests, with an extra 30 or so seats available on the two patios. There’s also a private event room that can serve up to 130 guests.
Daihido’s menu is comprised of numerous sushi and sashimi options, appetizers like tempura shrimp and vegetables, lettuce wraps, fried calamari, soups, salads and more than 15 sake options.
Prices hover near $8 to $10 for appetizers, about $7 for salads and $6 for many of the sushi rolls, with a few exceptions.
”(Guests) are going to find a good balance of food, but at the same time, feel relaxed,” Wang said. “Our motto is, this is a ‘place of happiness.’ We want to bring a good dining experience to all of the people who come into our restaurant.”
That experience begins at the front entrance where a hostess, one of about 60 employees, was quick to beat guests to door-holding duties and patrons were seated promptly during the soft opening Tuesday evening.
It’s a positive sign for the employer, who cited staff training as one of the most difficult hurdles encountered so far.
“The biggest challenge (…) would be staff training,” Wang said. “Many on the staff are new to the concept.”
Bar manager Tommy Meadows, a former employee of about four years at Wang’s Ho Ping House in Roseland, echoed his boss and mentor’s words.
“Brand new restaurant, family-owned, we’ve got to get our sea legs and the basics down to a T,” Meadows said. “We have a lot of new staff. We tried to hire experienced people who have been doing this, because we wanted to give them an opportunity to grow into other positions as time goes on.”
Daihido’s bar, separate from the main dining area, features 14 draft beers including Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale and a seasonal option from Great Lakes Brewing Company, among others.
An extensive list of “world class whiskeys” is also offered, as well as multiple wine selections, available by the glass or bottle.
Meadows, creator of the bar’s six signature cocktails, is planning to offer drink specials and his own liquor infusions in the future. He has already begun crafting his own syrups and encourages guests to sign up for the restaurant’s free eClub.
“You’re going to get discounts, coupons, special member-only invitations to parties we are going to have. It’s the way to go,” Meadows said. “You’re going to hear about stuff way before anyone else knows it.”
After experiencing a hectic family and friends preview night on Monday, June 15, which Meadows said brought about 100 guests through the door all at once, the staff may have the most demanding aspect of the opening behind them as they work out kinks in the operation.
Wang appeared focused and optimistic about his operation, even with the nearby competition of Granger’s SoHo Japanese Bistro, South Bend’s Woochi Japanese Fusion & Bar and Zing Japanese Fusion in Mishawaka.
“I feel very confident about what I’m doing right now,” he said.