East Valley residents who are fans of The Clever Koi will soon have a much shorter drive in store to enjoy pork belly steamed buns and pig face dumplings. According to The Clever Koi co-owner Nicholas Campisano, he and owners Joshua James, Jared Porter, and Joseph Absolor will open a second location of the modern Asian eatery in downtown Gilbert next year.
The restaurant will be located off Gilbert Road behind Heritage Marketplace, a development that currently houses restaurants including Barrio Queen, Zinburger, and Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles. The Clever Koi will be part of the development's second phase. Campisano expects the restaurant to open by spring.
The second Clever Koi will be even larger that the original — while the midtown restaurant can seat about 90, The Clever Koi in Gilbert should seat about 150 guests. Campisano says customers can expect the same sleek, simple design found at the first restaurant and that the owners aim to create a restaurant that stands out from the rest of Gilbert's ever-growing dining scene.
"Obviously, it's going to be hard," Campisano says of opening a second restaurant. "But we've instilled a lot of who we are and what we do in our staff."
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News of Clever Koi in Gilbert comes after the owners signed on to open a different restaurant concept, Stock & Sable at The Colony, a new restaurant development near Seventh Street and Missouri. That two-part restaurant concept is expected to open even before The Clever Koi in Gilbert.
Campisano and James also opened an artisan doughnut shop called Born & Glazed in Scottsdale earlier this year.
The Clever Koi opened in 2013, generating lots of buzz thanks to the restaurant's experienced owner team. Both chefs Jared Porter and Joseph Absolor came from Biltmore-area standby The Parlor, while mixologist Joshua James and general manager Nicholas Campisano both brought years of experience in the industry to the project. Though the restaurant struggled initially, it's since become one of midtown Phoenix's best dining spots.