Love Japanese food? Bistro Honda opening on Northside


By Lauri Lee
Northside Economic Development Coalition

When Bistro Honda opens in late October, it will become the first Japanese restaurant to locate on the Northside. The family friendly bistro, owned by Aki Ishikawa, will be located in the Northside TownCenter. Ramen Kid on West Gilman Street and Karaoke Kid on University Avenue are also owned by Ishikawa.

The name, Bistro Honda, is sure to stick in your mind. “I named the bistro after my friend, Genji Honda, who is a chef living in Texas,” said Ishikawa. “When people see the bistro name and think of the Japanese Honda car, they’ll remember Bistro Honda serves unique and delicious Japanese food for the entire family.”

The bistro’s menu is unique and expanded beyond the usual favorites. The food is unlike what is served at other Japanese restaurants in Wisconsin. “I owned Ginza of Tokyo from 1979 to 1987 and introduced sushi to Madison. Now I think I introduced it too soon,” said Ishikawa. “Since it is served everywhere, our menu will offer poke sushi and rolls.” Customers will find a unique expanded menu with new selections influenced by American and Hawaiian cuisine. The bistro will also offer a full service bar.

The Hawaiian influence of the menu comes from the eight years Ishikawa lived in Hawaii after selling Ginza of Tokyo. “I thought Hawaii was a dream island and that I was ready to retire,” Ishikawa said. “But I found the island too small and I was too young and active to retire. I missed my friends and introducing new menu items from Japan at a restaurant, so I moved back to Madison.”

The Bistro Honda décor is authentic Japanese with an American influence to offer a comfy environment that will look unlike the usual Japanese restaurant. The seating will be in sections to provide privacy and a quieter environment. For those who enjoy karaoke, private rooms for meetings, birthday parties and other celebrations will be available.

Please join me in welcoming Bistro Honda to the Northside’s multicultural community. For those who love Japanese food, the many vegetarian and carbohydrate-free meals in the affordable $10–$15 price range will keep you coming back again and again. They are currently hiring all positions. Call to apply.

Bistro Honda is located at 1865 Northport Drive in the Northside TownCenter in the former Coffee Gallerie just down from Benvenuto’s Italian Grill. Hours: Monday‒Friday, 11 am–2 pm and 5–9 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11 am‒9 pm. Phone: 695-3507.