Mizu 21 nearly set to open in Canton
By John Fitts
CANTON – The owners of Mizu 21 are on the cusp of opening their doors and are planning a soft opening for its first day - Sunday, Oct. 8 - from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The multi-faceted restaurant features two Hibachi areas, a main dining room, a private party space, a Sushi bar, and a large bar backed by folding glass doors that create a seamless transition to an expansive outdoor space. In all, the restaurant can accommodate more than 150 people. Diners will be greeted by fountains in the entryway – and artwork throughout the building that alludes to Mizu – or water. The 21 is simply for 21 Albany Turnpike.
While Hibachi is a Japanese tradition, the restaurant also features Chinese and South Asian cuisine.
Kei Lam, one of the owners of the restaurant, is a veteran in the industry and formerly ran Rice Field in Canton with his parents (The family sold the restaurant in 2013 after some 13 years of operation) and is an owner at Fuji, a Hibachi Steak House, Sushi Bar and Lounge in Torrington.
Lam is excited to open the doors at a restaurant where he has purchased the property where it is located and, with his partners, has made a significant investment into the restaurant.
“We’ve lived in this town for more than 25 years and we’ve always liked it here,” Lam said. “Everybody has a dream in their life. That’s one of mine, to have our own place. We like this community, and we like to serve this community.”
Lam said the idea was born when he learned that La Trattoria was closing its doors. That popular restaurant, which closed circa 2018, operated for some 50 years. Many restaurants also proceeded it on the site, which is near the Simsbury town line on Route 44.
The Canton Planning and Zoning approved the plans for the new restaurant in July of 2021. Those included demolishing the 10,870 square foot building that housed La Trattoria and replacing it with a 6,724 square foot restaurant with 1,489 square foot patio.
Borghesi Building and Engineering made the application to the commission and served as general contractor and Craig C. Chasse, manager of Architectural Studio, 3C in Harwinton did the design work that went before the commission.
Construction began approximately a year ago and the restaurant recently received its certificate of occupancy from the town of Canton, as well as final approvals from the Farmington Valley Health District.
Lam studied art in college and has worked for CL&P but growing up in restaurants – first in Naugatuck and then in Canton - he just fell in love with the business, despite the long hours and hard work.
"This business is a lot of work. It takes up all my time, but it’s a part of our life,” he said. “I enjoy running around, talking to people, having fun behind the bar making drinks and … I do everything,” he said. “I’m a professional dishwasher and restaurant maintenance guy ... and everything else. ...In this business you own everything, and everything owns you too.”
But he said it is the effort of everyone involved, “We work as a team, it’s not just me, everybody.”
And Lam reiterated that the community is equally important. He praised the town and everyone the owners have worked with and is also committed to giving back.
“We like Canton a lot,” he said. “I think this is a beautiful town and the people are very nice around here. I’ve met a lot of people and get a lot of support.”
Giving back is only natural.
"We have to give back," Lam said.
To that end, 30 percent of the sales from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oc. 12 will go to the Canton Intermediate School PTO.
Mizu 21 Hibachi * Sushi * Bar
21 Albany Turnpike
Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
See below for the menu and a few photos.