Andrew Kojima, a finalist on the hit tv series MasterChef, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise £50,000 for the permanent Cheltenham location for his pop-up Japanese restaurant, Koj Cheltenham.
“Last October we converted the ground floor of a townhouse cafe into a popup Japanese restaurant. We opened with a small menu of casual, Japanese dishes complemented by Japanese beer and cocktails. Over the nine weeks that followed, we improved our recipes and added a daily specials board, including crowdpleasers such as hirata buns and ramen bowls. It was not a big space – just 14 seats, plus 4 bar stools – but nonetheless we were flattered and encouraged by how quickly word spread. By the time we closed for Christmas, we were so delighted with the response, that we now want to make casual Japanese dining part of the permanent Cheltenham restaurant scene.”
Kojima explained that he and his team selected the pop-up’s site because it had all infrastructure they needed to get up and running quickly. He also noted:
“Now, having decided that it is time put down roots, we need to take it to the next level. We have secured the same site that we had for the popup – for most restaurateurs finding and negotiating the right site is the biggest hurdle, and lengthiest. For us, it’s an ideal situation as we have experience of having actually operated there. But in order for us to meet our potential and grow up from popup to permanent, we need to invest in the kitchen and the restaurant in general.”
Funds from the Kickstarter initiative will be used to refurbish the dining space and refit the kitchen. Those that back the project will receive the following rewards, Koj’s furikake rice seasoning, Koj’s tiffin, selfie photograph, lunch for one, and various recipe cards. The campaign is set to close on March 6th.
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