The already bustling restaurant district along Selby Av. in St. Paul just keeps growing. The latest addition? A sushi restaurant and bar with enormous specialty rolls and cocktails crafted from Japanese spirits.
Yumi Japanese Restaurant + Bar opened earlier this week in the former Fabulous Fern’s space (400 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-207-6810, yumisushibar.com).
This is an expansion for the longtime Excelsior restaurant founded by Myoung Kim 20 years ago. In 2018, Aaron Switz and Mikael Asp took over, and eyed this spot on the other side of the metro. The area had a familiarity to it.
“It’s another great neighborhood,” Switz said. “It’s older, established, high density. It’s kind of like Excelsior, but it’s not.”
The former Fern’s (as the St. Paul institution had been known in later years) was gutted and transformed into the new restaurant in the Blair Apartments. The bar now offers classic cocktails with a Japanese twist. One drink, For Here or To Go, mixes peaches and vodka in a paper takeout container, chopsticks and all.
Many of the new drinks will also be available in Excelsior.
The menu has grown beyond what’s available at the first Yumi, which is known for its platter-sized specialty rolls. Those are available in St. Paul, as well as crispy tuna rice, spicy shrimp tempura, teriyaki and fried rice dishes.
The owners plan to open a third Yumi later this year in Southdale’s Northeast End redevelopment. “Then we’re done,” Switz said. “In the state, anyway.”