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Impulse Hibachi Joins White Plains Restaurant Boom

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Two weeks ago Tommy Ko opened his Impulse Hibachi Bar and Lounge on Mamaroneck Avenue, adding another venue to the downtown White Plains’ booming restaurant scene.

Ko, a 44-year-old Queens resident, said he learned the Mamaroneck Avenue strip was a prime restaurant location after opening Asian Temptation in City Center five years ago.

“We do pretty well. This area is like a little Manhattan with all the traffic. It’s the best spot in Westchester,” said Ko, who made back his investment in Asian Temptation within the restaurant’s first 10 months.

Impulse Hibachi, a family oriented Japanese restaurant, offers seafood and grilled entrees for about $30 to $35. Chefs cook at the table in front of roughly 100 to 150 daily customers.

“Most people come for the soul, for the entertainment,” said Ko, who spent about three years planning Impulse Hibachi’s debut. “Our chefs cook in front of people. They do tricks. [Chefs] pile onions up so they get smaller and smaller at the top. Then they pour vodka and oil on it to create an onion volcano with fire.”

Ko has joined several food entrepreneurs flocking to downtown White Plains. Cheeburger Cheeburger debuted in mid-April. The Italian eatery Serafina launched on Main Street in early May. About a month and a half later, the Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened it's doors.

The New York City-based Sofrito restaurant has begun construction on a White Plains sequel expected to open in three or four weeks. Bonnie Silverman, president of the downtown-based Silverman Realty Group, also announced three new food vendor leases last month. The health-conscious Energy Kitchen , Delicious Licks frozen yogurt, and a second venture by the owner of Milonga on N. Broadway called Milonga Arepas and Tapas Grill have all leased space on Mamaroneck Avenue.

Silverman, who is also the chair of the Downtown Business Improvement District , said business has been “really brisk” for the past few years.

“It’s always been food for the last couple of years,” said Silverman. “We have so many places to eat, you can eat out for a month in White Plains and never go to the same restaurant twice.”

The president of the Downtown Residents Association Arnold Bernstein praised the expanding restaurant scene, saying, the new joints brought traffic, consumers, and sales tax revenue to the city.

“It is absolutely a welcome thing. The more restaurants we have, the more traffic we have, and the more people that stick around at night,” said Bernstein, a former Common Council member. “ Our population swells to about a quarter of a million during the day.”

Bernstein credited the “renaissance of downtown” to former mayor Joseph Delfino’s administration, saying, before City Place, Renaissance Plaza, the Residences at the Ritz Carlton, and other sizable projects developed in the past decade, you could role a bowling ball down Mamaroneck Avenue at night without hitting anyone.

“It’s a wonderful change. The growth is terrific,” said Bernstein, who thinks the only thing still missing from his neighborhood is a Jewish-style deli. “I don’t know that we need much more. We’ve got just about everything you could want.”

What do you think of the restaurant boom in downtown White Plains? What are your favorite venues? Are there any cuisines missing from the White Plains scene? Email thoughts to strangle@thedailywhiteplains.com and we’ll include your responses in future coverage.

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