The owner of Mr. Wasabi on Upper Union Street is hoping to bring some Japanese cuisine to downtown Schenectady.
Jackie Chen is preparing to open a Japanese restaurant, bar and lounge called Ninja Restaurant at 11-13 N. Broadway, a vacant spot not far from the bars and restaurants that line North Broadway and lower Union Street. If renovations go as planned, he hopes to open sometime after September.
The restaurant would seat about 100, he said, and include at least three bars — one for alcohol, one for sushi and one for Yakitori (skewered chicken, Japanese style).
Chen has owned Mr. Wasabi at 1617 Union St. for about six years. The restaurant serves mostly Union College students and people who work at nearby offices, he said. The space on Broadway is a good location for a restaurant, he said, since it’s part of downtown and in an area heavily trafficked by restaurant- and bar-goers.
But previous tenants have not had much success at that location.
It was home to Parisi’s Steakhouse for five years before unpaid taxes forced it to close in 2008. A new restaurant called Parenzo’s Italianio briefly operated there, but closed down after the state Liquor Authority denied the owner a permanent license, citing persistent troubles with drunk patrons causing a nuisance or getting violent. Most recently, it was home to the nightclub Club XI, which managed to stay open for only a month and a half before the city shut it down in 2012 following a massive brawl that resulted in two stabbings.