Jerry Misa and Sandra Dittman used to spend their weeks driving around town. As owners of food carts and trucks, they drove to purchase supplies, host events and cater to customers.
After years of living a fast-paced lifestyle, the soon-to-be restaurant owners said they have finally decided to settle down, but they are far from feeling burnt out.
Mochiko Fried Chicken, 2101 S. Decatur Blvd., is set to open by April, according to Misa and Dittman.
“Everything is ready to go,” Misa said. “We have the space. We have the plans. We’re just waiting on the city (of Las Vegas) to review them so we can start building.”
The restaurant will focus on Asian-infused food, including mochiko fried chicken, rice bowls, wings and salads.
“I don’t have any formal culinary training, but I grew up around food,” Misa said. “My mother ran restaurants and bakeries when we lived in the Philippines, where everything was measured by the sack or gallon.”
According to Misa, the idea of mochiko fried chicken sparked from his memory of trying Southern fried chicken for the first time in the Philippines.
“It just stuck with me for a long time,” Misa said. “When we started thinking about opening a restaurant, I started looking into various recipes and came up with an Asian-Southern-Hawaiian fusion fried chicken.”
To fund and market the business, the couple are hosting a Kickstarter campaign through Feb. 9 with a goal of $25,000.
“The restaurant will open regardless if we meet our goal,” Misa said. “Kickstarter is not an accurate gauge of how successful the business will be. Opening a restaurant requires a lot of money, and we’re just open to receiving all the help we can get.”
Once the restaurant opens, the couple plan to donate a portion of their proceeds to breast cancer research, according to Dittman.
“I am a breast cancer survivor,” Dittman said. “It’s a great way to give back, and it’s a cause close to me.”
For two years, the couple owned Dragon Grille, an Asian fusion food truck, and attended local festivals, such as the Las Vegas Foodie Fest, Vegas StrEATS and the Electric Daisy Carnival. In June, they won Las Vegas Weekly’s Best New Food Truck award.
Despite their growing success, customers inspired the couple to sell the truck and build a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“They would always tell me we should open a restaurant because it would be easier to find us,” Dittman said. “With a restaurant, they wouldn’t have to be running around town trying to find (our truck).
“The food will be different (recipes) from the food truck because the new owner has stuck with our original recipes, and we’re not trying to compete with them. We really wish them the best of luck.”
Misa and Dittman started their food industry careers by selling hot dogs in front of local businesses. They branched into specialty burgers but had a lot of competition with other food trucks.
“There was a niche for Asian fusion food,” Misa said. “People loved it so we switched our focus all together and started Dragon Grille. One thing led to the next, and now we’re opening a restaurant.”
The couple expect to hire six to eight employees once the restaurant is complete.
“We’re excited about creating jobs because God knows we need them,” Misa said. “It’ll be good for the local economy, and we’re very supportive of that.”
For more information, visit mochikofriedchicken.com or call 702-767-3953. To donate, visit tinyurl.com/losdaos.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.