CONCOURSE — New Jamaican and Japanese restaurants are on their way to the South Bronx.
Smokey Island Grille, a Brooklyn restaurant serving up Caribbean food like jerk chicken and okra, and the Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, a fusion restaurant that serves Chinese, Japanese and American food, both plan to open in the borough's Concourse neighborhood later this spring.
Smokey Island Grille will open at 260 E. 161st St., in the same building where a Chipotle and a Starbucks recently opened, while the Hibachi Grill will open in Concourse Plaza.
Tai Walker, a partner at Smokey Island Grille, said he felt it was time for the restaurant to expand and that its location in The Bronx — right across from the courthouses and close to Yankee Stadium — would provide access to a large base of customers.
The Bronx location will be geared toward the "grab and go" eater and also include wireless Internet service for people who need a place to use their computers, he said.
"We have that whole commercial setup where people can come in, get food, use the Wi-Fi access, stuff like that," he said.
The Hibachi Grill's menu will include sushi and seafood and is meant to provide Bronxites and visitors with an affordable place to eat in the neighborhood, said Nicholas Forelli, director of leasing for the Feil Organization, which owns and manages Concourse Plaza.
"With the limited number of fast-casual restaurants in the area, this space was perfect for the large lunch crowd coming from the county court house, as well as evening diners coming in to shop at Concourse Plaza and visit the movie theater," he said in a statement.
Smokey Island Grille should be ready to open by the end of April, and the Hibachi Grill should open its doors sometime in late spring, according to Walker and Forelli.
Cary Goodman, executive director of the 161st Street Business Improvement District, said he was thrilled that the neighborhood would be getting two new restaurants, maintaining that it demonstrated how much safer and more comfortable people now felt walking around and looking for food options in The Bronx.
He hopes to see this trend continue and wants the next wave of restaurants arriving in the borough to include outdoor dining options.
"I’m hoping that the next level of development will include some outdoor dining stuff, like outdoor café adjuncts," he said. "Look at the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side of Manhattan...They all have that. They all have these outdoor opportunities for dining."