New restaurant moto imoto to bring Pan-Asian flavors to St. Charles
Restaurateur Brian Goewey might be best known for his Italian offerings, but he's got some other tricks up his culinary sleeve.
The owner of Gia Mia in St. Charles, Livia Italian Eatery in Geneva and several other restaurants, Goewey and his team at BG Hospitality Group soon will bring what they call a California Pan-Asian flavor to downtown St. Charles with the opening of moto imoto.
Led by Goewey, Culinary Partner Mike Bomberger and Executive Sous Chef Claudio Coronel, moto imoto will move into the space formerly occupied by Wok N Fire at 181 South 1st St. With an opening date planned for July, the new restaurant will be just a few hundred feet south of Gia Mia.
"We had this great opportunity on one of the best corners in downtown St. Charles and wanted to give it a run," Goewey said. "We've gone through some menu tastings, and we're in love with it. The food is just fresh and clean and great.
"We wanted to do something new and show the culinary world out there that we can spread our wings and do multiple food concepts," he said.
Goewey and Bomberger came up with the idea for the California Pan-Asian restaurant while collaborating on dishes and sensing a desire for that type of food in the heart of St. Charles. More than a year in the works already, the time frame for opening was extended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After taking possession of the space in April at the northwest corner of 1st Street and Illinois Street, workers have been furiously trying to get the space ready for customers. Even though much of the menu is set, Bomberger continues to tweak it in anticipation of the opening.
"It's really a blend of many nations and their food and their culture," Bomberger said. "We're always talking about what we can do better and how we can be different. We want to keep it light and fresh with bountiful flavors."
Goewey said the aim is to bring a bright atmosphere to the restaurant while offering unique dishes such as a sweet pea mint dumpling. The menu includes sushi, and the restaurant recently was approved for a liquor license.
"Most Asian restaurants are so dark, and we wanted to take a different approach to bring a lighter, organic feel with a lot of live plants and make it feel more airy," Goewey said. "We think it's really something people will enjoy."