Bin An is no stranger to the restaurant biz.
By the time he was 11 years old, he was already washing dishes, busing tables, pulling host duties.
“I know the business, I know it well,” said An, 43. “I know the Tucson clientele, and they definitely know me.”
Yup, the name An is certainly familiar around here.
An’s father is legendary local restaurateur Kwang C. An, who opened his first eatery here in 1983 after a disappointing meal at one of the city’s few Asian places. He went on to own several restaurants.
Bin An plans to open his own Asian fusion restaurant at the corner of Broadway and Sixth Avenue in the ground-floor of Tucson Electric Power’s nine-story downtown headquarters.
“I love what’s happening downtown right now,” said Bin, who’s opening the eatery with his wife, Ginny. “I wanted to be a part of that. It’s a beautiful building, great location.”
MiAn Sushi & Asian Bistro will occupy about 4,900 square feet and feature two patios as well as a private dining area. Inside will seat 160 diners while the outside area will handle about 80 to 90 people, said Bin, who signed the paperwork two weeks ago. He also plans to offer valet parking to make downtown dining easier for customers.
The menu will feature sushi, Japanese noodles and some Chinese fusion.
“It’ll have some traditional Asian fare, but a lot of it is going to be newer, different, something that doesn’t exist here in Tucson right now,” Bin said. “We’re trying to modernize Asian cuisine a little more.”
Bin expects to submit plans to the city next week and hopes the restaurant will open in late December.
“Everybody is working full time night and day right now to get everything done,” he said.
John Foster of Katalyst Restaurant Concepts is creating MiAn’s sleek, modern look.
“It’s going to be an eye-catching restaurant as you go by Broadway,” Bin said. “You’ll definitely notice it.”
Bin is the oldest of An’s three biological sons — maybe you remember the TV ads for Sakura restaurant featuring Mr. An and his “No. 1 son,” former Arizona Diamondbacks player Luis Gonzalez?
He had a restaurant in Scottsdale from 2000-2004 called Sapporo. He left to come back to Tucson and the family restaurant business. Kwang An sold Sakura in 2008 and now has Mr. An’s Teppan Steak, Sushi & Seafood on North Oracle Road.
As for the restaurant’s name, it has a double meaning. “Mian” is the Chinese word for noodles, but it’s also the nickname of Bin An’s 2-year-old daughter Misha. “She calls herself ‘Mimi An,’” he explained. “She’s learning to talk. It’s kinda cute.”
As darling as she is, Bin has no plans to teach her the restaurant ropes just yet.
“She’s rather rambunctious,” he said, with a laugh. “I don’t think diners would appreciate having her around. She likes to play and she’s loud.”