In September, Beaumont neighbor Andy Diaz will celebrate ten years as owner of Blackbird Wineshop at 4323 N.E. Fremont in Beaumont Village. At the same time, he will shutter his 600-square-foot Daruma sushi and sake restaurant around the corner, after three years at 3520 NE 42nd Ave., and re-open it in a 1400-square-foot space at 1640 N.E. Killingsworth in the Concordia neighborhood. Diaz will retain the Beaumont Daruma space and is mulling over some fresh ideas to hatch there, including a possible coffee bar or gelato shop.
“Maybe a breakfast spot or something else that will make the neighborhood happy,” said Diaz. “You have to be careful what you say, because then you end up having to do it. That’s how Daruma was born. I fell asleep on my couch watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi and woke up when Josh Bean called me at 7:00 a.m. to tell me that Ristretto was moving and the space would be available. I said ‘That would be a great spot for a little sushi bar,’ and the next thing you know I was signing the lease.”
The new Daruma in Concordia will add roughly 20 seats for a total of 45 and will offer a full bar and some warm dishes not currently on the menu, including ramen and tempura.
“I think the neighborhood has done a good job of sustaining us, but if we’re going to grow we’re going to need more seats,” said Diaz. “We’ll have deep-frying ability, charbroiling ability and a range too. It’s an opportunity for us to have proteins that we couldn’t accomplish here and to widen our appeal for our customers. I’m going to keep this awesome team together – including our head chef Devin Jacobson. It’s time to take what we have and move it into a bigger engine and tune it up.”
Diaz sourced many of the design elements in the new space from salvaged construction materials and Metalwood Salvage in Cully fabricated the new bar.
“I always call this space ‘the incubator,'” said Diaz. “If you look at the businesses that have grown here over the years, the space is forgiving enough that you can try almost anything.”
Meanwhile, around the corner, Blackbird will be hosting a series of special tastings and events during the week of September 11 to celebrate its first decade of business. Highlights include an international rosé tasting on Sept. 11 to finish off the summer, a Donati Family Vineyard tasting on Sept. 12, White Rose Estate head winemaker Jesus Guillen with his own Guillen brand on Sept. 13, Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard winemaker Tahmiene Momtazi on Sept. 14 and Love and Squalor’s Matt Burson on Sept. 15.
“Most of the success we’ve had I can attribute to how gracious our customers have been,” said Diaz. “They made it easy. Considering I didn’t really know anything about wine when I started, it’s been pretty easy. There’s so much creativity and so many genuinely good people here. One of our biggest supporters at the beginning was Marco Shaw up the street at Fife. He was amazingly encouraging. His recognition and affirmation was important. Every single person has been wonderful. Being between Green Dog Pet Supply and Beaumont Hardware is a dream. They’ve got to be the two busiest businesses in the neighborhood. Every screw I have in here came from Beaumont Hardware and every time my dogs get out of their gate they run to straight to Greendog and wait for someone to give them a treat. I’ve never had the experience before – anywhere else I’ve lived – where everyday I’ll be going to the market or crossing the street and someone will honk their horn and wave. We have a real village here and I’m the village wine guy and I love that.”