Featured Tenant: Kei Sushi
The co-owners of Kei Sushi put the concept of family into everything they do. That is why they’ve built a small, close knit staff at their newly opened Japanese restaurant in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood. This is also why the duo were drawn to this neighborhood in the first place, because everyone was so friendly and really made them feel welcome. The importance of family is why co-owners Yenyta Winata and Hartadi Tjahja were attracted to Solo Realty, a family-owned and run real estate company. Finally, that is why, when you walk through the doors of Kei Sushi at 1711 South Street, you, too, will be welcomed as if you were family.
After over fourteen years in the restaurant business, jumping back and forth from Philadelphia to New York City, Yenyta quit her job and made a decisive move back to Philadelphia in the form of a business plan to open Kei Sushi with her close friend, Hartadi, a long time South Philadelphia resident. Hartadi moved to Philadelphia from Jakarta, Indonesia when he was around eighteen and has resided in the city ever since.
Both co-owners love Philadelphia for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Compared to the crowded and fast paced cities of New York City and Jakarta, Philadelphia is a breath of fresh air. The two were drawn to Graduate Hospital in particular because of how welcoming everyone is and the high volume of young people eager to dine-out in the burgeoning BYOB restaurant scene in the area.
Before settling on Southwest Center City, Yenyta and Hartadi looked with their agent Daniel from Berkshire Hathaway for a suitable commercial space for almost two years. They looked all around the city too, ranging from Germantown, University City, and Fishtown.
When they finally came across 1711 South Street the owners were not immediately convinced. The space was only a barebones office at that point, with an unfinished basement and no kitchen. Yet, charmed by the surrounding community, Yenyta and Hartadi decided to take the plunge.
Now came the hard part – renovating the space and customizing it to achieve the warm and welcoming atmosphere the owners were after. The pair dreamed up most of the design work on their own, and executed the job with the help of a contractor. The custom sign and woodwork shelving in the walls is exquisite, and with just 24 seats, plus 4 at the sushi bar, an intimate atmosphere is established. In some ways being at Kei Sushi feels like you are in your own living room, in other ways it’s like being in a sleek, innovative new restaurant. “We just want people to come in and feel comfortable,” remarks Hartadi.
Working with Solo agents Alex Franqui and Sean Rapp made the process a lot easier for the pair. They both agree that the two agents could not have been more patient and resourceful in helping them fit out this commercial space to achieve their aesthetic vision, not to mention all of the technical requirements for a restaurant. Alex and Sean remained supportive through the entire undertaking until, ultimately, Kei Sushi was ready to open.
Run to perfection by a small staff, Kei Sushi puts out some of the most delicately crafted and uniquely flavored sushi in Philadelphia. Blending traditional Japanese preparations with modern influence, the menu offers a wide array of options that are sure to please and excite any Japanese cuisine enthusiast.
After we finished talking no one would let me leave until I took my spot at the sushi counter and indulged in a full spread, prepared by sushi chef Robin, and Yenyta, who in addition to being a co-owner is also an accomplished chef. There is no denying the quality of the sushi at Kei, and that quality is only deepened by the friendly and unique atmosphere in the restaurant, created by both the space and the staff who really do seem more like family than mere co-workers.
We are certainly excited to have Kei Sushi as one of our tenants at Solo Realty. The restaurant and the team behind it are an excellent addition to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood and Philadelphia as a whole.