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Japanese restaurant comes to Andalusia

Those walking under the newly installed “torii” arches of Andalusia’s first Japanese restaurant Samurai Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar are to be blessed with good health, good fortune, and of course good food — according to Masa Hwang.

Hwang, who worked Wednesday orchestrating the restaurant’s finishing touches, said he has worked in multiple Japanese restaurants such as Destin, Fla.’s, Osaka’s and he his family thought Andalusia was a perfect market for such a restaurant.

“A lot of people come from this town down to eat and they all said they need something like this in their town,” Hwang said. “It’s a good market and low competition, so here we are.”

Menu selections include a full sushi bar, seafood, traditional Japanese fare and of course, hibachi.

“We have four hibachi tables; they cook it right in front of you,” he said.

And Hwang promises a “good show” with knives flying and hot grills.

“It is entertaining and good food,” he said. “I know; I cook.”

Located in the old R&M Steakhouse building on Alabama Route 55, Hwang said he is shooting for today as his first day in business.

“We are going to try,” he said. “Lots of last minute things to do. We want to see the after-Christmas crowd. Our plan is to open seven days a week at 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. for lunch and dinner from 4:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.”

Additionally, Hwang said plans include a full alcoholic selection including sake, beer and traditional Japanese wines. At its last meeting, the Andalusia city council approved the restaurant’s liquor application. It is currently awaiting final approval from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

“A Japanese restaurant without sake? No, no,” he said with a laugh. “You see the torii out front. It means good fortune to all — good things to happen. We hope here in Andalusia.”