Until it closed for a seismic retrofit in March, Namu Gaji had been steadily serving chef Dennis Lee’s style of modern Asian-influenced cuisine to the Mission since 2012. Now the restaurant is growing up and out of its home at the corner of Dolores and 18th and taking over the now-closed Perennial space in Mid-Market.
The new Namu Gaji at 59 9th Street will operate with a much bigger dining room and kitchen space than its previous home at 499 Dolores Street, where the main seating area was mainly comprised of counter seating and a large communal table. The Perennial, which shared a 5,000-square-foot space with Paramo Coffee, has a considerably larger footprint with a full bar, lounge and dining room.
This will be the second expansion for Namu Gaji’s owners, the Lee brothers — Dennis, David, and Daniel — in recent years. They opened Namu Stonepot, a casual, counter-service restaurant on Divisadero, in 2017. A second location of that restaurant will open in Namu Gaji’s space on July 15, serving an identical menu to the original. Namu Stonepot focuses on its signature stonepot dishes like kimchi stew, sizzling sisig, and stonepot rice, while Namu Gaji’s menu includes dishes like okonomiyaki, chicken ramen, and arancini with kimchi, gochujang, and parmigiano reggiano.
No word yet on when Namu Gaji will make its Mid-Market debut; Eater has reached out for more details. In the meantime, the Lees’ food is still available at Namu Street Food, open Thursday and Saturday at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market with kimchi fried rice and gamja fries, and at Namu Stonepot on Divisadero.