Two restaurants are scheduled to open in Emory Village early next year. Wagaya, a Japanese restaurant, will open at 1579 N. Decatur Road, in the former site of Dankbaar Taco. A Mediterranean restaurant, Keba Sandwiches, will occupy the former site of Yogli Mogli, located at 1403 Oxford Road N.E.
Takashi Otsuka, owner chef of Wagaya, said that his restaurant seeks to provide customers with the experience of dining in Japan. To this end, he serves food such as sushi and edamame, as well as cuisine that may not be considered Japanese but is still served at restaurants in Japan, like hamburgers and curry.
Keba, a Georgia-based chain, specializes in “doner kebabs,” roasted Mediterranean sandwiches filled with meat and vegetables. The restaurant will offer “quick-service” food with an average price of about $10 per entree, CEO of Keba Franchising Jamey Loftin said.
Takashi Otsuka, owner of Wagaya, expects to open its new location February 2017, and Loftin said Keba is projected to open Jan. 3, 2017.
Although the Emory Village Alliance (EVA) does not own the properties, it approved plans for the restaurants to develop and open for business.
“We want to make sure [Emory Village is] a vibrant activity center for the community and for Emory,” EVA Chair David Payne said.
Otsuka said that he believes the new location will provide a good opportunity for success because of its proximity to Emory and the family-oriented, growing city of Decatur.
Like Otsuka, Loftin recognized a strong demographic of college students and thought Keba’s contemporary, comfortable atmosphere would attract them.
“We just want to invite the community to come and experience our product and we want to treat them like they are family and we want to show them how much we appreciate their business,” Loftin said.
After these restaurants open, few vacant lots will remain in Emory Village, Payne said. He added that several businesses have survived for many years at the Emory Village, indicating that commerce can be successful in the village despite the difficulty of operating a small business.
Wagaya opened its first and only restaurant in Midtown Atlanta, near the Georgia Institute of Technology, Spring 2015.
The Emory Village location will be Keba’s fifth location and first Atlanta-area location.
Loftin explained that the restaurant’s concept came from his German friend who brought the idea to the United States. According to Keba’s website, approximately 15,000 restaurants in Germany specialize in selling similar sandwiches.
“We welcome [Wagaya and Keba] and … hope they can prosper here,” Payne said.