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Chef Tory Miller and Deja Food Group have decided to re-imagine Sujeo in response to its new neighbor — The Sylvee, Frank Production's new 2,500 capacity concert venue set to open on Sept. 27 on South Livingston Street. Miller announced today that Sujeo, the pan-Asian restaurant he opened on North Livingston Street in 2014, will change its concept to fast-casual.
Sujeo, which is one of Miller's four restaurants in Madison along with L'Etoile, Graze and Estrellón, will close Sept. 15 through Sept. 23 to allow for modifications before reopening on Sept. 24.
The fast-casual-style restaurant concept is a modern way to describe an eatery that falls somewhere between fast food and casual dining. Fast-casual restaurants focus on healthier, higher quality ingredients, and they don't offer table service.
Miller says the opening of the new concert venue seemed like the perfect time to re-think Sujeo, which has been a passion project that allows him to cook Asian American food alongside sous chef Jamie Hoang. "Really since we opened, we've always kind of had this identity crisis," Miller says of Sujeo. Along with customers who know Miller from L'Etoile and Graze, there's a younger customer base that patronizes Sujeo, and a fast-casual concept will be able to better serve that crowd, Miller says. The change also allows Miller and Hoang to be more creative with frequent noodle bowl specials.
Some staples from the current menu, including the Dan Dan noodles, the egg roll, Brussels sprouts and soft-serve ice cream, will be carried over to the new menu. Miller and Hoang will announce the new menu during the week the restaurant is closed. Full bar service will continue, as well as takeout, but delivery will be suspended for the foreseeable future. Late night noodle bar service (usually until 1:30 a.m.) will still be offered, and Miller says the restaurant will be open regularly until 11 p.m. or midnight. The idea is to catch people coming out of The Sylvee looking for an after-concert bite to eat, Miller says. "We want people to have a really cool place to go after shows," he says.
The restaurant will undergo some quick one-week turnaround renovations, including a new spot where you'll order your meal at a counter. There's also a plan to lower the wall dividing the main dining room in order to create better flow in the space. Miller says they also hope to work with a local artist to add artwork to one of the walls.
Miller and the team are excited to debut the new space on Sept. 24. ""Sujeo is my favorite," Miller says. "I just want to see it reach its full potential."