3559 W Lawrenceville St. #600
Open since: Jan. 2
Owner: Paul Yuwachit
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (Closed Monday)
Location: 3559 W Lawrenceville St. #600, Duluth
Atmosphere: Sweet Octopus has been bustling with business since it opened in January due to its unique take on Thai street food and other Asian cuisine.
The two-story restaurant sits on a street corner in mixed-use development Parsons Alley in Duluth. It is just steps away from the town green, festival center, town hall and Taylor Park.
On the first floor, the restaurant serves poke bowls, burritos, ramen and Thai food in a dining area with a large picture of a Thai street food market.
But what many people don’t know, manager Simon Ho said, is that there is a coffeeshop feel with empanadas, boba teas, lounge chairs and an outdoor eating area upstairs overlooking the town green.
“It’s a family-friendly restaurant, and we try to work on a fast schedule,” Ho said. “We try to get you your food in five to 10 minutes. We know that people come here from the office area and people don’t want to wait 30 minutes for their food. All of the burritos, ramen, Thai food, we try to do it as fast as we can.”
The restaurant is owned by Paul Yuwachit, the owner of Thai and Sushi EAV in East Atlanta. The poke bowls and burritos are from Poke Burri and Lifting Noodles, owned by Seven Chan and Ken Yu. And the empanada and boba tea bar are from Empanada House, owned by Benjamin Rad.
All four restaurants come together at Sweet Octopus to create a one-stop shop for Asian food lovers.
“Because it’s like an octopus,” Ho said about the restaurant’s name. “They have so many legs. They created this for the variety of people who come in. It’s not like you just get Asians. That’s why you have ramen, you have poke, you have empanadas, you have boba teas.”
In the future, such as spring or summer, Ho said the restaurant hopes to offer a patio, games, seven new wines, local beer and more Sake, perhaps just in time for Duluth’s Fridays-N-Duluth featuring food trucks, entertainment and more.
“Supporting local is one of the things we believe in,” Ho said. “You support them, they support you.”
Menu: Along with offering a variety of items inspired by Thai and Japanese cuisine, Ho said there is a secret menu with sushi corn dogs, sushi pizza and sushi donuts.
The Everything Sushi Donut, a permanent menu item, has salmon, tuna, spicy tuna, crab salad and is topped with avocado, Yum Yum sauce and more.
“The donut is always going to be on the menu, because people love it,” Ho said. “There are donut shops everywhere, but nobody had a sushi donut before so we tried to create something that people will love.”
Ho said the best time to visit the restaurant for items such as the sushi pizza is during the week between 2-5 p.m., when the place is less busy. He said the sushi pizza, though a hit, takes a long time to make.
Some of the restaurant’s other top menu items are the Masaman Curry Ribs, SUPER Poke Bowl, Spicy Tan Tan Ramen Noodles, Demagorgon sushi burrito, as well as the Elder Flower Apple and Hibiscus Cucumber Sake cocktails.
Upstairs at Empanada House, there are fresh-baked empanadas stuffed with bulgogi bbq beef, chicken, pulled pork, guava and cheese, banana and Nutella, and fig and mascarpone.
Unlike other places that sell ramen noodles, there is a “build your own” option at Sweet Octopus. Customers get to choose their own noodle type, broth, one protein, veggies and toppings.
There is also a “build your own” option for poke bowls and rolls.
Something You May Not Know: Every morning, the empanadas served at Sweet Octopus are made using all fresh ingredients.
“From the dough to the pork, it’s all fresh,” Ho said.
What’s more, the sauces used for the poke and ramen downstairs are also all homemade.
“We just buy everything and mix it all together (for the sauces),” Ho said. “I know some restaurants that buy their own Yum Yum sauce, they buy their spicy sauces. Not us, we make our own. It’s better for customers. The Yum Yum sauce is salty if you buy it. We make it more on the sweet side. Customers love it.”
Sweet Octopus can be found at The Sweet Octopus on Facebook and Instagram. For more information, visit www.sweetoctopus.com.