Sushi and Cajun fusion restaurant Concept 23 opening soon in Lawrence

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A new sushi and Cajun fusion restaurant, Concept 23, is set to open sometime in March. 

Located at 1606 W. 23rd St., the business is a collaboration between Sushi Station and Louisiana Seafood. Both restaurants are currently in a shopping center at 23rd and Louisiana streets, and they will be closing to combine in the new location less than a mile to the west. 

Louisiana Seafood and Sushi Station manager Michael Suned said he began curating Concept 23 alongside his business partner and the owner of Sushi Station, May Qui, in April 2023. 

“It’s an old and new thing combined with Western and Eastern culture,” Suned said. 

Lane Rozin/Lawrence Times “Hello! Welcome!” signs in a number of languages greet guests as they walk inside of the sushi and Cajun restaurant, Concept 23.

The menu will offer a variety of fresh, handmade sushi rolls from scratch, along with sushi pizza that is currently available at Sushi Station for a limited time before it relocates next month. 

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“Food and rest are two very important components for all living creatures. Vegetations, animals, humans, they all needed good food, they all need a good rest,” Suned said. “What we offer is we want to give good food to the people. Quality food, tasty food, no preservatives, no MSG.”

Concept 23 will also have a variety of beer and liquor options to choose from.

“We got our liquor license because a lot of our customers want to order Sapporo and Japanese beer because it’s a Japanese restaurant,” Suned said. “We have domestic beer, as well as imported beers. The Japanese beer, Chinese beer and German beer, and we’ll also have saké and wine. It’s going to be a good place for somebody who wants to have a good time.”

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The building — on the north side of 23rd Street between Naismith Drive and Ousdahl Road — was a Pizza Hut for years, and briefly housed Argana Cafe in 2020. The cafe relocated downtown after a fire, but it has since closed. 

Suned said although they are renovating the space, he wanted to preserve the building’s exterior design.

“This place has a lot of good memories about people around Lawrence, (since it’s an) old Pizza Hut,” Suned said. “When we remodeled, we knew we wanted to keep some of the spirit of that old building in the design. When you’re outside, you can still see that old Pizza Hut building, but when you come inside it’s going to be a totally different transformation.”

Lane Rozin/Lawrence Times Poster and wall decorations cover the walls of the new sushi and Cajun restaurant in Lawrence, Concept 23, which is set to open sometime in March.

When Brian Kingsley, a loyal customer of Louisiana Seafood and friend of Suned, heard about the business relocating, he said he ordered multiple batches of their signature shrimp gumbo. 

“I had gone to Louisiana Seafood and ordered various types of seafood from there, but I really took a liking to their shrimp gumbo,” Kingsley said. “When I heard that they were getting ready to open this other restaurant and that Louisiana Seafood would close down, I ordered 30 batches of that shrimp gumbo and put it in a freezer so that I could have a little bit to bridge this time between the business closing and new one starting.“

Kingsley said he looks forward to having “a really nice seafood place” here in town. 

“The ingredients that they order are all top-notch,” Kingsley said. “They don’t cut any corners and the quality of their food, in my opinion, seems to be really high, and that’s hard to get in the middle of Kansas.”

Although Concept 23 doesn’t have an exact date set for its debut, Suned looks forward to being a new space for the Lawrence community to experience. 

“When you want to try something new, we’re here,” Suned said.

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Lawrence Lowdown is a feature on developments around town. Have a tip? Let us know.

Lane Rozin (he/they), a contributor to the Lawrence Times, is a student at the University of Kansas Schools of Journalism and Film. He is a graduate of Pittsburg High School, where he was the multimedia editor for the Booster Redux/Pitt Media in 2019-21. He is currently the arts & culture editor at the University Daily Kansan and a radio show host at KJHK. See more of his work for the Times here.

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