Mentor, OH

Meet the woman behind Mentor's very own Kiko's Kitchen

Paul Krasinic

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City of Mentor

MENTOR, OH — There's a saying that goes, love what you do. Sonya Davis lives by it. With her passion for food, she is determined to share her enthusiasm by opening Kiko’s Kitchen at 9179 Mentor Avenue.

When asked what prompted her to open the restaurant, the Mentor native explained that her path brought her to John Carroll University, and then to a job in human resources at a local firm. Despite the security that a corporate job offers, she realized that a traditional 8 – 5 setting just wasn't good enough for her, so she decided to chase her true north.

In 2018, she invested in a food truck that featured dishes influenced by her Japanese-American upbringing, and thus, Kiko’s Kitchen was born.

Her food was an instant hit at various Cleveland events, leading to a long-term deal with the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. However, success demands sacrifice, and gaining balance was significant to her. Davis decided to open her storefront this past April to be closer to her two young children and home.

“It’s a great location and it already had just about everything that I needed,” she says. “And, it’s great to be near family and the friends I grew up with.”

The restaurant is named after her mother, Makiko, who instilled in her a love of cooking. The menu is inspired by street food Sonya discovered during her numerous trips to Japan. Sushi is not on the menu, but there are rice plates and bowls, Sandos (Japanese-style sandwiches), as well as fusion dishes such as burgers, tacos, desserts and more.

“Our ‘create your own rice bowl’ is our most popular item because customers can choose their own protein and vegetable,” says Davi., “Our Yakiniku Fries are really popular as well. They are a variant on American-style loaded fries with shredded cheese, steak, yum-yum sauce and other toppings.”

And, so far, she has made the right move.

“The response has been great so far. We’re starting to see a lot of repeat customers and the comments have all been very positive,” says Davis.

Kiko’s Kitchen is open on Tuesday until Sunday. For hours, menu, and additional information, visit www.facebook.com/kikoskitchenofficial/.

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