We hear all kinds of restaurant gossip here at The Pitch
and we try to follow up every lead, which is why we contacted Erika Koike today after hearing reports that she was giving tours of the two-year-old Westport restaurant (located on the site of the former Tivoli Theater) to potential buyers or investors.
"That's not exactly
the story," says Yokohama-born Koike, who first got into the restaurant business in 2007, after opening the tiny One Bite Japanese Grill
in Overland Park, her version of a Tokyo izakaya,
a tavern where patrons could relax with a cool beverage and a few plates of small starters. In 2012, Koike moved to the 425 Westport Road location and expanded her menu. She also changed the name of the restaurant to Sama Zama, which translates as "variety."
"I'm looking at all my options right now," Koike says. "I really don't want to sell the restaurant."
What Koike would like to find, she says, is a business partner to operate the restaurant with her.
"I'm here all the time," Koike says. "I would love to take a few days off every once in a while."