Japanese restaurant says 'Konnichiwa' to Black Mountain

Claire Thomas
Special to Black Mountain News
Justin Caraway stands in front of the Japanese-style digital menu, one of many nods to to Japanese culture in new Black Mountain restaurant Konnichiwa.

Residents of Black Mountain can now find a taste of modern Japanese street food, thanks to a new restaurant.

Konnichiwa, owned by Justin Caraway, is one of the latest entries on Black Mountain’s list of eateries. Although the restaurant has been open to the public for several weeks, Caraway, joined by Head Chef Keith Carter, will soon be hosting a grand opening for the public.

The duo has crafted a unique dining experience unlike any other in the area. Wall decals displaying Tokyo skylines and bustling Japanese streets trim the main room of the restaurant while the interior emulates the modern, yet minimalist, aesthetic customary to Japanese culture.

The menu, as described by Caraway and Carter, consists predominantly of Japanese street food, accompanied by traditional options and a build-it-yourself “creation station” in which the patron may build their own meal by selecting from meat, rice, vegetable and flavor categories.

A sushi bar, operated by Carter, will soon be added to the restaurant.

As the sign reads, Konnichiwa head chef Keith Carter suggests the Black Mountain restaurant's poke bowl, which features fresh Ahi tuna.

 “Everything we offer on the menu will be prepared in-house and from scratch, Carraway said. "We simply want to honor the sophisticated cuisine in a setting accurately depicting Japanese culture.

The inspiration for Konnichiwa, which derives its name from a traditional Japanese greeting, came from Caraway and Carter’s shared appreciation for the country's cuisine and values. As a previous apprentice for a sushi chef, Carter grew to admire the emphasis his mentor placed on the preparation of food.

“In Japanese culture, there is much care put into the craft of cooking, and they practice perfection yet minimalism” Carter said.

Caraway grew up watching anime films and his curiosity and fondness for the Asian region grew to be a passion, which ultimately manifested in his first business venture —Konnichiwa.

Although still relatively new to the local food scene, Caraway and Carter are already excited for the future of the restaurant, which features an atmosphere to match its authentic cuisine. The eatery will offer a delivery service through Chow Now, a user-friendly app which will allow customers to order directly from their phone. Equally convenient, the duo hopes to expand Konnichiwa into a catering service, offering a portable sushi bar and sake pairing flights.

The owner plans to announce the grand opening in the coming weeks.