Rapper Pusha T will put his stamp on the D.C. restaurant world, announcing today that he’s partnered with a pair of D.C. nightclub owners to open a bar selling ramen, hookah, and cocktails on H Street NE. Kitsuen (1362 H Street NE) is expected to open in the Atlas District on New Year’s Eve.
Wayne Johnson and Tony Perry (Saint Yves, Abigail) have been longtime friends with the hip-hop star, which explains the celebrity connection. Along with Pusha T’s business partner, Terrion Jones, the project has a cast of other high-profile backers that includes NBA players (and Maryland natives) Jerian and Jerami Grant as well as Vegas entrepreneur Kyle Eubanks.
In a sly Instagram tease, an account for Kitsuen posted a picture of the bar 27 weeks ago that included the title of a Pusha T track in the caption: “If you know you know”
Johnson and Perry told Eater in June 2018 that they originally planned to enforce a dress code at their debut restaurant, which now counts Pusha T as a partner. The long-delayed venture was supposed to open as early as last fall.
The partners tell Washington City Paper that there won’t be a dress code, and the compact menu will include just three types of ramen: shoyu, miso, and a house special topped with Japanese fried chicken, or karaage. The latter is also a popular ramen bowl component at Toki Underground, a pioneering D.C. ramen bar that’s just a few steps from the new club.
The kitchen at Kitsuen, which means “smoke” in Japanese, will be led by chef Munehiro Mori of Tokyo, Japan, who’s clocked 25 of experience cooking traditional ramen. Hookah will be available at an outdoor heated patio and in an upstairs lounge.