Cafe Hana in Irving gives the coffeehouse a unique Japanese twist
An award-winning Dallas restaurateur has opened a distinctive new coffee shop: Called Cafe Hana, it's a shop that gives the usual coffeehouse a Japanese twist, including unique pastries and specially sourced coffee beans.
The shop is from Sara Nam, owner of Edoko Omakase in Irving, and it just opened at 1030 W. John Carpenter Fwy. #150, in a former State Farm Insurance office next door to Edoko.
Nam opened Edoko Omakase in March 2020 with chef Keunsik Lee as a spinoff of Edoko Sushi & Robata, a concept her aunt owned (and has since sold). The restaurant's omakase offering, in which diners leave the ordering up to the chef, put them on the foodie map and won them acclaim including Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year in CultureMap's 2021 Tastemaker Awards.
"I always wanted to own a coffee shop, and when the State Farm space opened next to Edoko, it seemed perfect," Nam says.
But she wanted to do it Japanese-style, with coffee and baked goods you wouldn't find anywhere else. She's getting her beans from Ogawa Coffee, a roaster founded in Japan in 1952 which has a location in Boston.
"The beans are from traditional regions like South America, but Ogawa is the roaster, and has won many awards for its smoothness and balance," Nam says. "Japanese people measure everything, consistency is the key, that's what made me want to work with them."
There are also teas and tea drinks including a matcha latte and the uncommon hojicha latte, a tea latte made from Japanese roasted green tea (hojicha), water, and milk.
Nam has partnered at Cafe Hana with pastry chef Maiko Hagiuda, founder of Oh Mai Goodness, a pastry shop located inside of Mitsuwa Marketplace, the Japanese grocery store in Plano.
The menu includes subtly sweet breads in flavors such as chocolate and melon; matcha macadamia cookies; and sakura panna cotta, a custard infused with the leaves of sakura, aka cherry blossom, green tea.
They're also doing a small selection of "entree" items such as avocado toast and katsu curry, a pork cutlet over rice with curry sauce.
On the savory front, their big thing is "sandos," the carefully-trimmed Japanese sandwiches made with tender-soft milk bread and fillings such as egg salad and strawberries & cream.
Milk bread is a soft, fluffy, light white bread made with milk that's popular for sandwiches.
"We specialize in Japanese milk bread made from scratch, and I think we're one of the only places in the area making the bread from scratch," Nam says.
They're starting slow but eventually, they'll do brunch, featuring dishes such as their Japanese breakfast taco, with turkey, salmon, shiitake mushroom, and wasabi, which will come with a little birria-style dipping sauce.
Other plans including using the back of the cafe as a speakeasy where they'll do VIP omakase events and high tea.