It’s been a minute or two since we last heard word of any goings on at 782 South 2nd Street, where Khyber, Royal Tavern and Cantina owners Stephen Simons and Dave Frank have been working on bringing their Royal Izakaya to life in the space that once housed La Grolla and Il Villagio. A tipster close to the project and its owners told Grub that it is still indeed a go. Construction is underway, and it’s looking like it’s about two months out from completion. Sushi star Todd Dae Kulper is still on board, and we’re told has been biding his time consulting, and helping out with Khyber and Royal menus. Extensive renovations, which are said to include a laboratory-like second kitchen built out to Kulper’s specifications on the building’s second floor, are the reason for the long delay. Hopefully it won’t be much longer.
The spread from Royal Izakaya’s pop-up back in 2011. Photo: Jeff Towne