Family-owned Altoona restaurant to serve made-from-scratch Asian food
From bulgogi to kimchi, a look at some of the Korean BBQ staples.
A new family-owned Asian restaurant will serve up homemade Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes in Altoona later this spring.
Nomi's Asian Cuisine is under construction at 404 Eighth St. S.W., a new strip building west of the Altoona Hy-Vee.
Owner Nomi Steward, a Korean emigrant, is moving her restaurant concept over from Solon, where she had operated it for about 10 years. The restaurant is expected to open in late April or early May.
Nomi's Asian Cuisine will feature several made-from-scratch Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes. Offerings include chicken teriyaki, steak, bulgogi (Korean marinated beef), tonkatsu (Japanese breaded pork with teriyaki), orange chicken, kimchi (Korean pickled vegetables), fried rice and lo mein.
The menu includes a variety of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes and will also offer a selection of beer and wine, including Asian beers and sake, a Japanese rice wine.
Once open, the restaurant will have lunch and dinner hours Tuesday through Sunday.
Steward said she has developed some of the restaurant's recipes, such as the kimchi, from her mother's recipes. Steward grew up as the oldest of six children and often worked in the kitchen growing up.
"I was always cooking," she said.
She met her husband, Steve, while he was serving in Korea with the Army. They married in 1979 and moved to Burlington, Iowa, after Steve left the service.
Steward worked as a hospital cook in Burlington and later in an Asian restaurant in Iowa City. She opened Nomi's Asian Restaurant in Solon in 2009.
After Steve retired from his job at Procter & Gamble in Iowa City, the Stewards closed the Nomi's in Solon and decided to move to Altoona where their son, Greg, and his family live.
Greg Steward said he and his parents looked in several Des Moines metro cities for locations to house the restaurant but preferred the "family-driven and local" environment in Altoona. The new 2,000-square-foot Altoona space will also give the restaurant more dining and prep room than its smaller location in Solon, he said.
The restaurant will have a seating capacity of about 60 and will also offer takeout orders.
Steward said she cooks the dishes on the menu completely from fresh ingredients and by hand, from cutting her own meat to making her own sauces and breading. The dishes are free of MSG, a flavor enhancer added to some Chinese food.
The Stewards expect to employ eight to 10 workers and are currently holding interviews.