Since bringing Katsu Burger back to life in Seattle in 2014, Stephanie Kang has added a new location every year. This year, Capitol Hill will be the site of the Japanese-style burger joint’s largest and most elaborate restaurant to date.
When Hajime Sato closed the original Georgetown restaurant in summer 2014, Kang took over business operations, reopening the spot in a few months. A short time later, she added a Bellevue outpost, which replaced her Kimchi Amigos restaurant in Factoria. Another Katsu Burger opened last year in Lynnwood.
Kang said she always thought Capitol Hill would be an ideal location for another Katsu Burger, and when Old Sage on 12th Avenue closed its doors in August, she seized the opportunity. It was unclear at first if the landlord would be willing to lease the space, Kang said, but things moved quickly after they visited Katsu Burger’s Georgetown and Bellevue sites.
“He really liked our plan,” she said, “they really like our menu, and in Capitol Hill I think they think they need someone fast-casual to come in, because there are really high-end places that cost a lot of money, and then teriyaki.”
Katsu Burger offers Japanese-style katsu breaded beef, chicken and pork burgers — a miso tofu option for vegetarians — fries with kicked up seasonings like 12 spice and curry, small bites and a number of shakes and drinks. For those with mega appetites, the Mt. Fuji includes beef, pork and chicken katsu patties, bacon and a fried egg.
With 2,600 square feet of space in Capitol Hill, Kang said she has the room to create a Katsu Burger with features she just couldn’t fit in her other sites.
“My head is spinning with all kinds of ideas,” she said.
The Capitol Hill Katsu Burger will be as family-friendly as the other spots, Kang said, but also cater to the late-night crowd, with beer, wine, sake and sake bombs. It will also stay open until 2-3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, opening early on Sundays, she said. Appetizers, such as tonkatsu chicken wings and other bites that go well with beer, will be added to the menu, Kang said.
Big-screen TVs will be mounted in the dining area for various sporting events, or for screening Japanese films appropriate for all ages, Kang said.
“It’s not like other Katsu Burgers, where you eat and go,” she said.
There won’t be any construction work at the former Old Sage spot, 1410 12th Ave., so the expectation is to be able to open around Christmas, Kang said.
“We’re going to keep as much as we can,” she said. “We’re going to alter a little to reflect our brand.”
A Capitol Hill artist was hired to replace a mural of a train from the Old Sage days with something that fits with Katsu Burger’s typical decor.
While Kang works toward a holiday soft opening for Capitol Hill, she just took over the lease for a shuttered grocery market space next to the Georgetown Katsu Burger, which she will use to double the restaurant’s size.
“We’re busy, and we have a contractor,” she said. “My goodness, I don’t know what I got myself into.”
Find out more at katsuburger.com.