After three months of intense remodeling Fuji Sushi Grill has officially taken over the former Riefe’s Restaurant on West Locust Street in Davenport.
The restaurant at 1417 W. Locust St. opened Monday, sporting new furniture, a bar, a dance floor complete with mirrored ball, new art work, and a new paint job throughout.
But it’s not just for people who enjoy their food raw, owner Michelle Zheng said.
“We have plenty of food on the menu that is cooked, and what is raw is clearly marked on the menu,” Zheng said. “We understand some people have allergies to the raw food, so we have a lot that’s cooked.”
The remodeling seemed to take a long time, Zheng said. “But it turned out very nice,” she said. “I’m happy with how the restaurant looks.”
Zheng and her cousin, Jessie Chen, were looking for a spot to put a sushi restaurant given the success of their Sakura Express Japanese Restaurant in Bettendorf.
When the Riefe’s site came available, they purchased the building that was constructed in 1961.
Remodeling included gutting the kitchen and service area and putting in a number of new appliances. The booths and tables from the back of the restaurant have been replaced with new booths and tables. However, the booths in the front of the restaurant are the same ones used by Riefe’s for many years as they were in excellent condition.
The basement area is being used for storage. Before remodeling began, both kitchen and basement were full of Riefe’s old plates, cups, saucers, cooking and eating utensils, multiple containers of spices, and several large mixers.
Riefe’s didn’t have sushi on its menu, nor did it have alcohol.
That has changed. Fuji Sushi has a bar stocked with many different types of adult beverages.
Fuji Sushi LLC purchased the building in April after Rick and Dan Riefe closed their third-generation family restaurant Dec. 23, 2015, ending a 66-year run.
Their grandfather and father, Orville and Delmar, opened their first restaurant in 1946 in Bettendorf. In 1949, Riefe's moved into an existing drive-in restaurant. In 1961, a new building was constructed at the site to offer seated dining and a drive-thru window.
Zheng and Chen also are part of an extended family in the restaurant business. They have Chinese restaurants throughout the Quad-City region including Panda Garden and Sakura Express Japanese Restaurant in Bettendorf, Great Wall in Davenport and Rock Island and New China in Geneseo, Illinois.