Bernie Lee will open Akar in Clayton next week

Next week will see the grand opening of Akar, the new concept from Bernie Lee, the chef-owner responsible for the former Hiro Asian Kitchen and Hiro Poké Co. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, the restaurant, which is currently hosting a soft opening, officially goes live at 7641 Wydown Blvd. — the former space of Anthony’s Italian Eats — on June 11.

Lee said Akar’s menu will lean toward Malaysian cuisine. “I’m not really focused on any kind of cuisine. I’m pretty much cooking what I like to eat and what has influenced me from my background,” Lee said.  

Dishes include options like lobster Rangoon, soft-shell crab, veggie consommé, a fish of the day and short ribs. (“I love short ribs,” Lee said.) The restaurant will also offer a unique snack menu in the afternoons between lunch and dinner service.

Read More // What I Do: Bernie Lee of Hiro Asian Kitchen

Akar’s menu will be friendly to gluten-free and vegan diners, and it will focus on simple, less processed ingredients. “I want to let the true flavors shine,” Lee said. “And [use] the spices I know.”

Akar’s drink menu will feature a small list of classic cocktails and a list of seasonal, Asian-influenced spirits. Lee expects to open with a list of about 30 wines. He anticipates the list growing in the future to provide a competitive option for those seeking a Clayton wine bar with a solid lunch and dinner menu.

The restaurant will be open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., for snacks from 2 to 5 p.m., and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on weeknights and 10 p.m. on weekends. Lunch will have a fast-casual feel, while Akar will be full service for dinner. 

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.