A new Japanese restaurant called CoZara will open in Chestnut Square on 32nd and Chestnut streets late January in University City.
The 140-seat, two story restaurant is chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s second eatery in Philadelphia. His first, called Zama and located in Rittenhouse Square, is a popular Philadelphia spot for sushi.
CoZara, which means small plates, will serve a different fare from its parent restaurant, which was named one of Philadelphia Magazine’s “50 Best Restaurants of 2013.” In University City, Tanaka will focus on a type of Japanese dining called izakaya, which is similar to the atmosphere of a pub, offering primarily drinks and tapas style food. Items on the Japanese pub food menu will include dumplings, buckwheat pasta, ramen soup and yakitori — Japanese skewered chicken.
“Japanese businessmen go to Izakaya for happy hour for drinks with coworkers. It’s more of a meeting place — you have a couple drinks and move on,” Zama general manager Bryon Phillips said. He added that in order to incorporate it into American culture, coZara will provide greater emphasis on food to create a “Japenese tapa pub environment.”
As a drinking establishment, coZara will serve drinks including sake cocktails, Japanese beer and local beer. It will also offer “one cup sakes,” or sakes served in beer cans.
The two floors will also provide two distinct feelings from the restaurant. Phillips added that the downstairs will have more energy from being close to the open bar and kitchen and the upstairs will be more relaxing and offer more of a dining scene.
This isn’t Tanaka’s first venture across the Schuylkill. Before opening Zama in 2010, Tanaka was executive sushi chef at Pod on 36th and Sansom streets.
His new restaurant will be a part of the new 361,200 square feet of retail and service space in Chestnut Square. CoZara’s neighbors will include Shake Shack, Yogorino and Joe Coffee.
Also opening in the area around CoZara will be the Fat Ham, which will open on Friday at 31st and Walnut streets, and the italian restaurant Zavino, which will also be located in the Chestnut Square complex.
The Fat Ham, owned and operated by Top Chef season seven winner Kevin Sbraga, will offer an array of southern comfort food. Zavino will be a pizzeria and wine bar that specializes in salads and other Italian fare.