Sushi Hayakawa reopens as Hayakawa in Westside’s Star Metals development

Celebrated sushi restaurant Sushi Hayakawa has closed its longtime Buford Highway location and reopened in a new, smaller space in the Star Metals development on Atlanta’s Westside.

Now known simply as Hayakawa, the eight-seat sushiya with an omakase menu is situated at 1050 Howell Mill Road in West Midtown. The original location at 5979 Buford Highway closed in December after 15 years, which owner and chef Atsushi Hayakawa called “very emotional.”

For an omakase dining experience, dishes are chosen and crafted by a head sushi chef, who engages one-on-one with patrons. At Hayakawa, omakase costs $315 per person. Offerings on recent omakase menus have included hokkigai kimi-su kake (surf clam with egg yolk sauce); buri (yellowtail) and otoro (fatty tuna) nigiri; and hotate (scallop) sashimi. Hayakawa’s sushi style is from his hometown of Hokkaido, also known for its uni (sea urchin roe).

Because ingredients are sourced based on market and seasonal availability, including from the Toyosu fish market in Tokyo, the menu changes weekly.

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Hayakawa

Credit: Photo courtesy of Hayakawa

The focus at the Star Metals restaurant is “on true Japanese cuisine,” Hayakawa said. “The experience at the new restaurant will be completely different than Buford Highway. It will still be omakase, but at a much higher level, where you feel like you’re in New York or Tokyo.”

The beverage selection, which includes sakes from Hokkaido and as well as some beers, wines and teas, will not include cocktails “as we do not want to offer any drinks that would disrupt the tasting flow” of the omakase, he said.

The space, which he describes as “intimate and engaging,” utilizes design elements including natural wood inspired by interior architect and Hayakawa’s friend Hiro Isogai.

“We may be in Atlanta, but we want our space to feel like you are transported to a slice of Japan,” he said.

Hayakawa is reopening amid an omakase renaissance in Atlanta; in the past year, Mujo and Omakase Table opened on the Westside, Brush reopened as Cuddlefish in Decatur, Norifish opened in Sandy Springs and Nobu recently debuted in Buckhead.

Hayakawa said he sees room for all of these concepts in Atlanta’s dining landscape. “Everyone does a great job, and I do my best. We offer something unique, and we want to let that speak for itself. If there are rivalries, we want them to be healthy.”

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Credit: Photo courtesy of Hayakawa

Credit: Photo courtesy of Hayakawa

For now, Hayakawa is reservation only, with seatings Wednesdays-Saturdays at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Hayakawa, a James Beard Award semifinalist, switched to serving only omakase at his restaurant when the dining room reopened in March 2021 following a nearly yearlong closure due to the pandemic.

He said he still owns the Buford Highway building and is thinking about opening a new concept there this summer “once our new location is stabilized.”

The $350 million Star Metals District includes the Star Metals Residences building and the 267,000- square-foot Star Metals Offices, which also features 40,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and showroom. Star Metals Hotel is set to open in 2023 with an underground speakeasy and botanical rooftop bar.

Star Metals District is already home to food and beverage concepts including Prevail Coffee, Sweetgreen, Savi Provisions, Flight Club and Wagamama. Still to come is rooftop bar Patina.

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