(Columbia, SC) – Boku Kitchen and Saloon invites the public to its grand opening celebration Thursday, August 25, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The restaurant and bar, which opened earlier this year in the Congaree Vista District, serves Pan-Asian-inspired cuisine. The free grand opening celebration will feature drink specials, food and beverage tastings, funky Asian house tunes spun by local DJ Preach Jacobs, gift card giveaways and more. At the event, attendees will get a taste of the fresh, fun dining in a high-energy,edgy atmosphere that Boku is known for — where vibrant colors in saturated hues cover every corner.
“Our team has worked hard to bring a one-of-a-kind dining experience, blending Asian influences with a modern, energetic, art-forward atmosphere,” says Mike Duganier, Boku owner and president of All In Hospitality, the powerhouse behind Publico Five Points and Publico BullStreet. “We’re excited to celebrate with our Vista neighbors, new faces and our regulars for an over-the-top celebration of this new concept.”
To celebrate its 2022 opening, Boku will host a night of drink specials and tastings with passed hors d’oeuvres for all. Each guest will receive a drink ticket to experience their beverage of choice. Boku will extend its fan-favorite happy hour specials all night, 4-11 p.m.— guests will enjoy $7 cocktails, $6 wines by the glass, $5 appetizers and $4 sake bombs. A local sake guru will guide guests through tastings from Boku’s extensive chilled sake list. Every hour, one randomly selected guest will be awarded a $25 gift certificate.
Located on Gervais St. next to Vista-staple Motor Supply Co. Bistro and popular shopping destination Urban Outfitters, Boku has become known for its creative takes on traditional dishes from a wide range of Asian influences — such as wok-fired Brussel sprouts with gochujang sauce to yuzu peach cobbler. Crowd favorites include the spicy noodles with egg noodles, ground pork, cucumber, bean sprouts and spicy dark soy; General Bob’s chicken with a house-made sweet and sour sauce; and lightly fried crab Rangoon. Frequented by young professionals, couples, business executives, creatives and service industry crews, Boku’s vibrant atmosphere encourages a fun and spirited dining experience.
Getting to Boku is easy with complimentary valet available Tuesday through Sunday. Additionally, the restaurant shares a 15+ space parking lot with surrounding businesses, and metered street parking is available throughout the district. From cultural activities throughout the Vista to a progressive meal in the district, guests can include Boku in their evening adventures for a lively, fun dining experience. The bar at Boku continues past the kitchen’s closing time each night, making it an ideal spot for an evening night cap.
An art-forward dining experience
Art is around every corner at Boku, an important aspect for Duganier to tie into the Vista District’s emphasis on the arts. Internationally recognized street artist Ruben Ubiera, whose work is on display in Miami’s Wynwood Walls, painted two custom murals for the restaurant. Each features visuals that drawing inspiration from the local community and Boku’s Pan-Asian motif.
The large rooster is widely recognized as a symbol of good fortune in the Chinese zodiac, while it also plays into Columbia’s ties to the Carolina Gamecock. At its left foot is a fedora sitting atop the Chinese character for “love,” a tribute to Duganier’s late business partner, friend and mentor Robert “Bob” McCarthy as the two shared a love for Frank Sinatra’s music who was known for wearing a fedora.
Further left is a wall filled with maneki-neko, also known as “beckoning cats” a common Japanese figurine which is often believed to bring good luck to its inhabitance. With neon signs at the entry and back patio, boxwood ivy covering some interior and exterior walls, a distinctive neon green exterior and booth seating, chopstick-inspired light fixtures in the back and bright red, bird cage light fixtures in the front, the restaurant is filled with eye-catching visuals that are nothing short of Instagram-worthy sharing.
“Dim Sum X DJ” brunch every Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This month, Boku released its new dim sum brunch menu available every Saturday and Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., one of the few Saturday brunch options in the region. The menu features sharable dumplings, pan-fried buns served in steamer baskets as well as Asian-inspired plates such as bahn mi avocado toast and a yuzu sticky puffle — a Hong Kong style waffle made with Yoto Yuzu sake paired with two whole fried chicken sticky wings topped with an over easy egg. The dim sum style brunch invites friends, families and groups to share and sample the inventive and fresh dining options. Accompanying the meal, special brunch libations include mimosa flights and a 64-ounce shareable bloody Mary featuring an outpour of garnishes such as 1/2 honey chicken, potstickers, bao buns and more. Every Saturday and Sunday, a local DJ will spin Asian house music to create a lively brunch atmosphere.
Reservations are recommended for dinner and brunch and can be made via phone at 803.708.88577 or online at www.bokukitchenandsaloon.com.