Naked Tchopstix owner David Lee is once again in expansion mode with a recently opened north-side Indianapolis restaurant and another soon to come in Carmel.
Each of the new spots will have a slightly different menu from Lee’s restaurant at 3855 E. 96th St., which offers sushi and other items, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean cuisine.
Lee said he’s already had a soft opening for Naked Tchopstix Express at 2902 W. 86th St., in the Willow Lake West plaza, with a grand opening planned later this month. The establishment will focus on sushi, including the Hawaiian style known as poke.
This location was formerly a Pita Pit restaurant, Lee said, but he bought out the owners of that restaurant and turned the space into Naked Tchopstix Express.
The Carmel location, which will operate under the Naked Tchopstix name, will be at 365 W. 116th St. It is taking the space formerly occupied by Coalition Pizza + Wine, which opened in 2014 and closed about a year ago.
Lee said the Carmel location should be open early next month. Its menu will include traditional Japanese cuisine, along with what Lee calls “Asian pizza” topped with items like seafood, chicken teriyaki and Korean barbecue. Lee said he was inspired to add the pizzas because the kitchen came equipped with a large oven from its days as a pizza place.
Lee also owns a Naked Tchopstix in Fort Wayne. The two new spots will give him a total of four Naked Tchopstix locations.
The Tchopstix concept dates back to 2003, when Lee and his then-wife Maggie opened a Bistro Tchopstix at 251 N. Illinois St. in downtown Indianapolis.
The first restaurant to carry the Naked Tchopstix name opened in 2004 at 6453 N. College St. in Broad Ripple.
After the Lees divorced, David took ownership of the 96th Street location and Maggie (now Maggie Kim) took the Broad Ripple site.
As IBJ reported earlier this week, Maggie Kim recently sold Broad Ripple restaurant to Hua Li of Avon. Li changed the name of the establishment to Captain Sushi about two weeks ago.
Li also owns Hirosaki, a Japanese restaurant in Avon that she opened in 2016.
At one time Naked Tchopstix had several other locations, including Indianapolis International Airport; the Fashion Mall at Keystone; Greenwood Park Mall; Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson; and in the Cincinnati suburb of Newport, Kentucky. Those have all since closed.