Shorewood’s loss is West Bend’s gain as Tochi, a modern Asian fusion restaurant, relocates to a larger retail and residential development on the site of the West Bend Company. The East Capitol Drive location closed its doors on August 16 and will reopen at a new address, 705 Village Green Way, Suite 102 in six to eight weeks.
The new restaurant, which is in the hometown of Gregg Des Rosier, chef and owner of Tochi, will have a seating capacity of 40 and a kitchen nearly three times its previous size. Des Rosier made the choice to move when Deborah Kern, building owner, decided she was no longer interested in owning a restaurant. Kern offered him ownership of the space but they could not agree upon the terms.
“After that it seemed like the right time to relocate and now it feels like I’m coming home,” Des Rosier said.
Des Rosier will miss having Tochi in Shorewood.
“[While it was] strange to have a restaurant in another store’s basement, [the business surpassed everyone’s expectations],” Des Rosier said.
Every Tochi employee was offered a position at the new location, but all 23 declined, having been recruited by other local restaurateurs. Des Rosier received countless numbers of calls asking for the names of his employees, a true attestment to the wonderful service provided.
“Everyone was so nice and welcoming,” said Layna Wang, freshman and frequent Tochi customer. “Not to mention the amazing food. The whole atmosphere was perfect.”
The plans for the Capitol Drive space have yet to be determined, but many have high hopes for something to come in, and quickly, especially MODGEN, the modern general store above the space.
“Two businesses are always better than one,” said Doug Mcdonald, MODGEN manager. “Having a restaurant below our store brought in a lot of traffic and introduced new customers.”
While Mcdonald said he expects a slight decrease in sales, he is confident that the upcoming holiday season will increase revenue and have them on track for the future.
“We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and hope for the best with this vacancy,” Mcdonald said.
Customers may be able to look forward to the return of Tochi to Shorewood and the East Side, should the right opportunity present itself. Despite the parking challenges, Des Rosier feels drawn to the area.
“We will hopefully be back soon,” Des Rosier said.
by Abby Widell