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Sapps, Serving Japanese Food, to Open in Court Square Next Week

(Photo: Queens Post)

Nov. 20, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

COURT SQUARE – A restaurant with a focus on Japanese food and other Asian cuisines is opening in the Court Square area next week.

Sapps, the name of the “no frills” restaurant, will open its doors on Nov. 28 at 27-26 Jackson Ave. , just blocks from the Citi Corp building.

The new restaurant, owned by Shih Lee, a restaurateur with a slew of local eateries including Shi Restaurant, Skinny’s Cantina, and Kavala, takes inspiration from the low-key, izakaya style Japanese restaurants in the East Village frequented by many, including Lee, as a teenager.

Among the restaurants was Sapporo East, which was commonly referred to as “Sapps” by patrons.

“He and his family would go there often,” said Eric Lehrer, who partnered with Lee in bringing about the new restaurant. “It was a everyone-knows-each-other type of place. That’s the element we like—we’re recreating this older place that the boss grew up around.”

But the restaurant will have a modern New York City vibe, and will also pay homage to elements of Long Island City. A 5Pointz inspired mural, for example, adorns the restaurant’s walls. The mural features a giant panda and elements of Japanese art, too.

While Japanese cuisine will form the basis of the majority of Sapps moderately-priced dishes, an array of Asian fusion dishes will also be prepared in the kitchen, which will be run by chef Mitsuru Kita.

Menu items include the usual teriyaki and bento boxes, and “Japanese comfort food”, like sushi pizza, served on a scallion pancake and loaded with tuna tartar and salmon. Japanese-style chicken wings will also make an appearance in a menu that will be ever-changing, Lehrer said.

There will also be a sushi bar at the restaurant, along with a cocktail menu and several varieties of sake to try by the glass or by bottle.

The site, at 2,200 square-feet, can seat up to 80 people, with 50 diners at the ground floor level and about 30 people in the mezzanine section, which can be reserved for events like birthdays, baby showers, and for large gatherings.

The restaurant will open for lunch and dinner to start, from about 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the week, with closing hours at around midnight for the weekend.

News of Lee’s new restaurant first came about in 2016.


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Super excited for these guys! I frequent their other establishments in LIC. I absolutely love the food, drinks are amazing, and the service is unmatched. Missed the soft opening this week, but I’ll definitely be visiting soon! Congrats!

“Gin, Tonic, Splash of cucumber juice!”

brooklynmc's child

Someone please tell daddy to stop rambling on the internet and please take care of us. It’s very cold in our house and there’s no food. The “one hotdog” he kept mentioning is our nightly dinner, we all have to share it. His neglect has driven us to drink, usually we dress up like grown-ups by standing on one another’s shoulders while wearing a trenchcoat, then go to The Gutter.


Cannot wait for Sapps and am so excited for Shih and to see the addition of Eric to the management! Shi and Kavala have wonderful food and I expect Sapps to follow suit (no comment re: Skinnys). These restaurants are NOT geared to families, (ahem no changing tables anywhere, though Kavala’s staff are very kid friendly), but are accommodating as needed – as restaurants should be. The Gutter is a bar with 4 bowling lanes. FOUR. It’s a bar, first. As a mom to a toddler, I would never let her set foot inside this place for fear of tetnus or worse, and she kisses her dog on the mouth. Get over your entitled “I have a kid now so everywhere should be kid friendly” BS and remember you were an adult once too – that’s what babysitters are for. ps – The Gutter is totally fun for Adult only nights, love the pinball!


That is absolutely not why they are building this little restaurant empire. They are successful because they are targeting families. None of their food is excellent. It is that simple. Family food that is consistent and decent. There is one hot dog that I know of within walking distance from Center Blvd. Skinny’s. There are thousands of children, yet 1 hotdog. It reminds me of the last election. Donald Trump did not win, Hillary lost. I am guessing that Vernon Grill will do well for the same reason. Family food. Look at the Gutter for bad decisions. No kid policy. That place is empty all the time and almost never crowded. Having children, I know that other parents want to bring their families bowling, but they won’t let us. Dumb. Even Brooklyn Bowl has family events.


I really don’t see how any of their restaurants are marketed toward families, but I’m glad yours enjoys them.


Gutter is packed most nights I go by. Banning children is an excellent policy. I’m tired of stepping on kids running around the bars I go to. if you’re going to be drinking at 10 PM with your friends AND kids, do it at home.

Coalition for a Kid-Free LIC

The no kid policy is what keeps me going to The Gutter all the time. Stop turning all the good places in LIC into daycare centers.


I don’t like kids, but I still don’t like the Gutter. The lanes are unevenly waxed and my thumbs don’t fit into their balls.

As for this new place, “Sapps” seems like an appropriate name.


Hey LICers, quick trivia….How does one individual continue to obtain success in the “oh so hard with the LIC rent” restaurant business when that same individual happens to own a Chinese, Mexican, Greek, and now a Japanese restaurant? Give up??? the answer, because he owns a Chinese, Mexican, Greek and now a Japanese restaurant AND NOT some “salad and coffee, brunch crap of a joint” or an “Italian restaurant that serves authentic no frills pizza”


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