Popular Lakewood bar and restaurant Yuzu closing its doors; Aji Noodle Bar taking over location

Posted at 12:30 PM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 12:30:40-04

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The popular Lakewood bar and restaurant Yuzu, known for its eclectic-named eats, themed nights, and most recently for its controversial tampon-cocktail, is closing its doors. Replacing the Lakewood restaurant is Aji Noodle Bar with a projected opening date of early July.

Jackie Kim, a South Korean-born Cleveland restaurant owner who has made a name for herself in Northeast Ohio, will take over the space effective immediately.

"She will be the new owner and operator of the space effective immediately, and I’m very excited for her to bring her authentic international concept to Lakewood," the owner said.

In a Facebook post, the owner explained he was met with a dilemma to close the restaurant, but ultimately realized time is more valuable than money.

Describing buying a bar much like buying a boat, the owner said times at the restaurant have been filled with good times, but the last three years being “one of the most stressful years of his life.”

“It demands undivided attention; you are always on call and you can never truly disconnect from it. It owns you; you do not own it. Owning this place has taken a huge toll on my personal life and on my mental and physical health. I was particularly conflicted to sell off a profitable venture; but the older I get, the more I value my time over money. All the money in the world cannot buy me more time.”

While giving reasons for closing, the owner made it clear the decision to close was not because of the recent tampon cocktail controversy.

“This deal was long in the works before any of that. The fact of the matter is if you choose to live your life in a public forum, people will ALWAYS criticize any and every move you make. If you listen to negativity, you’ll never accomplish anything. We wanted to go out with a bang and I definitely think we accomplished that,” the owner said in the post.

In May, the restaurant's Facebook feed announcing the tampon-themed cocktail was flooded with comments from people calling it "revolting" and "degrading to women."

Even with controversy, Yuzu stuck with its mission to help raise awareness and money for a local women's shelter. In the end, the promotion raised close to $1,000.