By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jan 23, 2001 at 12:05 AM

Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward is quickly becoming known for more than just its arts and shops. Suddenly food is all the buzz in this Soho-like downtown neighborhood. Feb. 6, 2001 was opening night for a new Japanese restaurant. Nanakusa, 408 E. Chicago St., joins Sauce, Coquette Cafe, Third Ward Caffe and Bella Caffe in the Ward's upscale eatery line-up.

Nanakusa, which in Japanese means "seven herbs," is the brainchild of Richard Kaiser. Housed in the former Phoenix Design furniture store, Nanakusa is warm, welcoming and full of unique touches that will make it hard not to love. Walking in, you see a beautiful sushi bar and a full wet bar. These are set aside from the dining room so as to not confuse and mix the two crowds, a "mistake" that several restaurant/bars seem to make.

Walking out of the bar area, you are greeted with several tables along the Chicago St. windows and a larger dining area in the back. The Tatami Room in the back features sit-down, Japanese-style seating in a private setting for about 14. Reservations are recommended for the Tatami Room.

Kaiser told us that the menu will be different from other area Japanese restaurants. It will feature a full sushi bar, an extensive kitchen menu and nightly specials. Chefs will use Pan-Asian fusion with the traditional Japanese/European/French/Thai and Chinese mixtures used in many Japanese restaurants.

Nanakusa patrons may use the covered parking lot next to the restaurant and there's also plenty of street parking. But something tells us that Nanakusa will be a crowded place once it opens, so be sure to call ahead for reservations (414) 223-3200.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.