The Ryu family has been serving up a mix of sushi, Japanese entrees and Korean barbecue for 16 years in Norristown and they've decided it's time for a facelift.
It's rare that a restaurant can stay open through multiple recessions and remain relevant through hit and miss foodie trends, but August Moon has staying power. Since opening, general manager Chang Han said he's seen trends come and go with Asian food. When August Moon opened its doors, sushi was not a well-known food and then it boomed.
Suddenly, even steak and potato people were coming in to sample fish rolled in nori (edible seaweed) and rice.
"Now it's gone to all demographics and people who never tried it are enjoying it," Han said. It's even common for young children to pick up chopsticks, he said.
"We have customers with young kids, and the parents don't tell their kids where they're going to dinner because they would eat them out of house and home," Han said with a laugh.
With this success, August Moon became a neighborhood favorite, but it's time to update the décor and adjust the menu, Han said. The Ryu family wants to stay on edge and keep adding new things for their regular customers.
In fact, Han said they surveyed some of their regulars to see what they want. It's noodles. Lots of noodles, he said. So August Moon will have a noodle bar that offers different types of dishes, not just Japanese or Korean but also Thai and Vietnamese.
"With pho and pad thai, we're going to expand to encompass a whole Asian theme, not just two," Han said.
The menu is not the only thing getting a makeover. After more than a decade, the restaurant is getting a facelift. Gone is the carpet to make way for sleek new flooring.
"We are going down to the studs. I'm so excited because we are giving it a fresh feel with a more contemporary look," Han said.
In keeping with the times, the Ryu family is saying goodbye to the late '90s teppanyaki trend. Those big grill tables where chefs crack eggs into rice, make flaming onion volcanoes and try to toss baby shrimp into the mouths of entertained guests will be no more. Instead, August Moon is adding a modern meeting facility.
"We have a gorgeous banquet facility that sits up to 250 people for private parties and we added a conference room specifically for corporate events with internet access and they will have their own video conference available," he said.
The renovation project began in October and Han said he expects it to be finished in January. The owners are still taking recommendations from customers, so if you go there often and want throw a request in the hat, e-mail Han at email@example.com.
For more information and up to date opening dates, go to www.augustmoonpa.com or call 610-277-3661.