New Japanese restaurant to offer hand rolls, ramen at location on Yampa Street |

New Japanese restaurant to offer hand rolls, ramen at location on Yampa Street

The owners of Joki, a Japanese themed modern cafe, plan to open this November in the space that had been home to Yampy's, a coffee shop that closed its doors in early 2019.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The dining options on Yampa Street are expanding thanks to new business owners Ken Macias and his wife, Julie George, who will introduce Joki, a Japanese-themed, modern cafe, to the lineup of restaurants and bars found in downtown Steamboat Springs.

“We have moved around a lot and opened places all over the world, “ said Macias, who specializes in launching new bar and restaurant operations.

He has opened restaurants in places like Tokyo, Dubai, Austin, Sacramento, San Diego and, most recently, the 20,000-square-foot Improper City in Denver.

But this project, at 910 Yampa St., which is expected to open in November, will be the first restaurant Macias and George are opening for themselves. They have been looking to open this type of restaurant for five years and after visiting Steamboat Springs, decided it was a perfect fit.

“We toured all the different mountain towns of Colorado and really fell in love with Steamboat Springs,” Macias said. “It’s going to be really fun, and we are really excited about it.”

The space Joki is leasing was previously home to Yampy’s, a coffee shop that closed its doors earlier this year.

“The principals behind Joki have extensive experience with some very notable restaurants,” said Stephen Shelesky, managing principal of Blue Sage Ventures, who announced Monday his company had signed a lease making Joki the newest tenant of 910 Yampa, a multi-use project that is home to Mountain Tap, Hala Gear and several other businesses including Steamboat Pilot & Today. “We have no doubt that this will be a first-class operation and will complement our project as well as the restaurant scene on Yampa Street.”

Shelesky said Joki will be designed to reflect Tokyo’s Omotesando or Shimo-Kitazawa districts with food such as ramen, rice bowls, hand rolls and sweets. The outlet will also offer cocktails, sake, a whiskey bar and late-night happy hour.

“We see a whole new market in Steamboat Springs with Japanese food — especially ramen,” Macias said. “I know that ramen usually does really well in mountain towns with it being cold weather for a good part of the year. Ramen is something that people do desire, and we want to bring something new to Steamboat.”

Because the space is small, with only 38 seats, Macias said Joki will be more of a quick-serve establishment where customers order at the counter and sit down. The food will be delivered to the table.

Joki will initially serve lunch and dinner with plans to eventually offer breakfast with coffee, tea and pastries.

“We are going for the affordable, quick-serve market more than a sit-down, fine-dining experience,” Macias said.

He added there will be more seats available in the spring, summer and fall when Joki will open its outdoor patio. 

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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