Dallas staple Teppo closes, for new restaurant by acclaimed sushi chef
After 27 years, longtime Japanese restaurant Teppo on Greenville Avenue has closed. A moment of silence.
But the space is already set to become a new sushi restaurant from credentialed chef Jimmy Park, who owns the Japanese restaurant Shoyo next door, which has been slammed since it opened in 2021.
"Shoyo has a limited number of seatings and as a result, it's hard to get a reservation," Park says. "Because it's so hard to get in, I wanted to open this restaurant so I can offer a place where people can go. I'm hands-off on reservations, and I feel bad when a customer who has been following me wants to try my food, and I have to say no."
Teppo, which originally opened in 1995 by Masayuki "Masa" Otaka and chef Teiichi Sakurai, closed at the beginning of July. It was one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Dallas, thanks to its Japanese-born chefs and hip Greenville Avenue location, making it a destination for foodies, celebrities, and rock stars.
Sakurai eventually left to open Tei Tei Robata Bar on Henderson Avenue, then Tei An in Dallas' Arts District. Otaka stayed on at Teppo.
But among Teppo regulars, Otaka's disenchantment with the aging space was not a secret. Problems included dicey plumbing and bad ventilation which created a lingering smoky atmosphere due to the yakitori grills.
In good news for Teppo fans, Otaka will be opening a restaurant at Preston Center, in the former Rock 'n Roll Sushi spot at 6109 Berkshire Ln., where he'll focus more precisely on yakitori Japanese barbecue. The working title so far is Mabo and the space is currently being renovated by Kuzuu Design. Otaka says he has no estimate on when it will open, "but hoping ASAP."
Park opened Shoyo after having worked at Nobu in Aspen and San Diego, as well as the acclaimed Kabuto Edomae Sushi in Las Vegas. He envisioned Shoyo as a small, secret kind of place with a set "omakase" menu; omakase is when you leave it up to the chef to decide on your order.
Shoyo is small, only 12 seats, and reservation-only, with two dinner seatings, at 5:45 and 8:15 pm, making reservations prized. As a result, it is nearly always booked.
The new restaurant can serve as an overflow, Park says.
"It'll be another sushi restaurant which is full-service, but more affordable with good quality food," Park says. "We'll also focus on having a bar there, to create something on lower Greenville where there are not a lot of places to get good sushi. You can come in and have a good time and be able to eat good sushi right next to Shoyo."
Park, who earned a nomination for Best Chef in CultureMap's 2022 Tastemaker Awards, says he'll be redoing the Teppo space with the same comprehensive approach he used for Shoyo in the former Daddy Jack's, another armpit of a space if there ever was one.
"We had to re-do everything at Daddy Jack's, we had to re-do the rest rooms, make the kitchen bigger — but the foundation at Teppo is pretty good," he says. "We'll do a facelift. We'll demo the front and make it a brand new restauant. I don't want people to come in and say 'Teppo,' I want it to say 'This is Jimmy Park's new spot.'"
Speaking of, the name is still TBA. "We had a name but found it was already taken by another restaurant," he says.
He does have a chef lined up: William Yoon, who is currently at Shoyo.
"William will be the head chef," Park says. "He came here from Colorado and Las Vegas, and has worked at good restaurants. We work great together at Shoyo, but I thought, 'Why keep two strong guys in one room?"
He's hoping to have the not-yet-named new restaurant open in January.