By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 19, 2004 at 5:47 AM

{image1} "I love sushi, I love sake, and I love Japanese and Korean cuisine," says Omar Shaikh, who will soon open Saketumi, a Japanese/Korean restaurant, and above it, a lounge called Fresh.

The double-decker destination location will open this fall at 714 N. Milwaukee St. and Shaikh is psyched to have landed a spot on the red-hot street.

"I honestly don't think I could have found a better location," he says.

Saketumi (yes, it's a play on words) will feature 10-20 types of sake, including hot, cold, brandy-flavored and everything in between. The menu will be equally as option oriented, with Korean and Japanese dishes, including Japanese-French entrées.

"A lot of dishes coming out of Japan right now have a French influence," says Shaikh, who managed a restaurant in Redondo Beach, Calif. for seven years and traveled to New York, California, South Beach and "every restaurant in Chicago" before opening his own eatery.

Saketumi will feature traditional maki and American diner favorites like California rolls, but will also offer more daring creations like the "Sexy Scallop Roll" which combines scallops, masago chopped with spicy mayo and kim chee sauce, and the "Viva la Mexico" which contains tuna, yellowtail, cilantro, avocado, scallions, jalapenos, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and special sauces.

"We will have an assortment of 20 different types of maki, not including several types of vegetarian maki," says Shaikh, who is 31, married and recently became a father.

The menu will also list seven to 10 entrees, including two Korean BBQ dishes -- Kalbe, a Korean Beef short rib, and Bugolgi, a beef dish -- inspired by Shaikh's aunt, Sunsook Lee, who is also one of the owners and will do some of the cooking.

"Once you try her Korean dishes, you'll be back," says Shaikh, who graduated from Cardinal Stritch College with a degree in International Business four years ago.

Fusion dishes like prosciutto wrapped Kobe with mushroom ragout and sauce and "Ocean Fire" which is a blend of seafood mix in a bed of sauteed onions surrounded by fire will also be available.

Saketumi will also serve lunch six days a week, including six kinds of Japanese hamburgers.

Shaikh hired three chefs for his new kitchen, including Aki San who worked in Japan, New York and Chicago for 32 years.

"Experience is definitely on our side," says Shaikh.

Shaikh says the restaurant will eventually have an earthy, stone-and-wood look with a natural brook.

Shaikh offers less information about his new lounge, Fresh, that's opening above his restaurant. He says it will be open to the public from Thursday to Saturday and serve as a banquet facility for groups and special events such as pharmacuetical parties during the week.

"It's going to be a really posh lounge, with DJs and a nice VIP room, but I cannot give away too many details concerning the aesthetics," he says. "I will mention that our women's bathroom is nearly 300 square feet."

Sakeumi will be open Monday-Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and closed on Sundays, unless a private party is booked.

Fresh will be open Thursday - Saturday from  10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and will accommodate private parties the remainder of the week, except Sundays.

For more information, call (414) 224-SAKE or soon, visit

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.