Jay Underwood has gone from Edo to Miso. Actually, his two new eateries are named Miso Fresh Asian.
Underwood opened the first Miso Fresh Asian last week at NorthTown Mall. This Friday he opens one in the food court at River Park Square. Both take the spots of the former Edos he ran in those two malls.
He describes the cuisine as Southeast Asian street vendor food. He also likes the idea of having all ingredients visible by customers. He incorporated a trait he thinks Subway has used well — giving customers a full selection and view of fresh ingredients.
Edo Japan was a franchise connected to a Canadian parent firm. Last year the parent firm decided not to renew many of its U.S. deals, Underwood said. That led him to strike out on his own, with Miso.
Underwood gives the menu's culinary credit to Chef Curtis Smith. The stores were designed by Paint Room Studios, owned by Dawn Kiki and Catherine Boles.
They incorporated recycled glass countertops, and selected tile that resembles wood and cork. Each store has a striking glass mosaic that wraps the stove hood.
And no, the cooks there don't use woks. In keeping with an agreement with mall managers, Miso can't use a “wok,” because another eatery established itself as the sole “wok-based” business inside the mall
Underwood said the solution was to use stir-fry pans. “In fact, that's the name for what we use, 'stir-fry pans,' ” he said.
River Park Square is owned by the Cowles Co., which also owns and publishes The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com.