NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA–Businesses are suffering across the country due to the shortage of business in the coronavirus pandemic confines. Part of those affected are restaurants. In many cities, chain restaurants are the way of life, but New Orleans is home to many incomparable restaurants that are one of a kind. However, that means in many ways, our culinary world has more at stake to loose. One business is bold enough to use their bold flavors to open up it’s doors to a coronavirus world.
Yo Nashi is located at 419 Carondelet Street. Nashi means pear in Japanese and the restaurant is a play on words based on the owners family name. Kyle Payer is the owner of Yo Nashi and he’s ready to take on business with his first restaurant, saying, “you learn to roll with the punches and those punches happened to get heavier as we went on, between the city being hacked and permits taking longer. Then, the coronavirus came in. If my restaurant actually succeeds, I can’t tell you how happy I’d be.”
Kyle had been working on getting his restaurant off the ground for about three years. Construction was completed in April this year. Time, money, and effort is tied in to his venture and he is committed all the way. Yo Nashi has been in business for just three weeks, and each day has it’s own unique hurdle to get over. Recently, the city of New Orleans responded to the rising surge of coronavirus cases by a new mandate on how restaurants operate. “I was kind of scrambling, but thankfully the code was updated to include bar seating in a restaurant-type setting. That was a weight off of my shoulders,” says Kyle.
Omakase restaurants are all about an intimate dining experience where patrons can taste the chef’s choice. Omakase also by design seems to have a style that lends itself to the recently limited seating requirements by the city. Yo Nashi seats around 20 people which is less than the limit of 25. Along with tasty food, there is the opportunity to taste a bit of the integrity of what drives Kyle Payer to the most: “my boys mean everything to me. I have two cocktails on the menu named after them. Jack has one named after him called the “Jack Pear” cocktail and my oldest son Eli Payer has a drink named after him called the “Wrecking Ball.” I love them so much.”
There is plenty of hope in New Orleans’ culture and when a new business sprouts up that is a good indication that despite the worst that 2020 may bring, New Orleans’ story is still one based in renewal. After all, Yo Nashi has two of the best: Kyle Payer worked at the James Beard award-winning restaurant August and Chef Mack worked at Commander’s Palace. However Yo Nashi will have to endure and Kyle will have to keep his guard up because if there is one thing that is certain about these times, it’s in their unpredictability.
Kyle says, “I worry about the new spike in cases. I worry that we are going to go back into another lockdown. It’s worrysome on a personal and economic level, but it’s not as important as the health of my family and other families. We are ready to fight.”