Izumi Onigiri

Onigiri, a white rice ball often wrapped in seaweed, will be a specialty at Izumi.

Soon, St. Louis diners can spin vinyl while chowing down on onigiri and sashimi.

Takashima Records, a Japanese-style vinyl bar slated to open in The Grove in the new year, has announced plans to open Izumi, which will bring modern Japanese fare to the space.

Kurt Bellon, the general manager at neighboring Chao Baan and a part of Global Foods Group, which is also involved in the concept, will oversee the food program. The menu will be in the style of izakaya, which they describe as a a laidback combo of Japanese tavern, tapas, lounge and gastropub food. 

Bellon, who is half Japanese, was inspired by the traditional regional Thai dishes that Chao Baan has brought to St. Louis. Bellon has visited Japan several times throughout his life, and he says that each time he left, he had a sad longing for the food and culture when he would return to St. Louis. That made him want to introduce a new Japanese food experience to the city.

"With Izumi, I want to bring in a more authentic Japanese food past sushi and ramen," Bellon tells Feast. "There's just a whole bunch of things to dive into." 

Izumi's specialties will include onigiri, a white rice ball often wrapped in seaweed that is stuffed with fillings like tuna, salmon and more. Izumi will also feature rice bowls like a poke bowl, sashimi bowl and curry bowl, as well as chazuke, rice with green tea or dashi broth poured over it and topped with extras like salmon, nori or rice crackers.

Bellon says that the main menu will be izakaya style, but there will also be a late-night menu that is a little less formal and will include more comfort foods and fried items. He says that these items won't be strictly "orthodox" Japanese, but will seek to bring these comfort foods to an American palate. 

Both Takashima Records and Izumi are tentatively scheduled to open Jan. 1. 

Izumi, Takashima Records, 4041 Chouteau Ave., The Grove, St. Louis, Missouri, takashimarecords.com

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