What happens when you bring together Motoyasu “Moto” Utsunomiya of the East Side King empire and Kayo Asazu of Kome and Daruma Ramen? Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats, an artsy and relaxed Japanese-inspired coffee shop and cafe, tucked away in the Canopy complex in East Austin on Springdale Road. Neighbors include ceramicist Keith Kreeger, The Whitebox Studio, Son of a Sailor, Canoe Leather Goods, and No. 4 St. James.
Swing by for a cup of coffee, or stick around and enjoy the soft jazz music while watching the fish swim around in the vintage television-turned-aquarium. Hungry? Sa-Tén serves up light and delicious eats on their Japanese-American fusion menu, like the chicken katsu sandwich. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes are available as well. Local bites include Better Bites Bakery, Quacks and Red Rabbit Bakery.
Read on for an exclusive Q&A with Kayo Asazu:
Sa-Tén Coffee, Must Visit Artsy Japanese Coffee Shop in Austin
Why a coffee shop?
KAYO: Moto and I love coffee and being at coffee shops. We used to joke around if we should have a coffee shop one day… and it became real.
What makes Sa-ten special?
Having Japanese influenced light meals, cozy old Japanese coffee shop feeling and being in the art centered building.
What’s the inspiration behind the menu and food?
Moto is in charge of menu and it was influenced by many old Japanese coffee shops, and trying to keep something to corporate with the flavor of coffee.
Tell me about the drink menu!
Drinks are in charge of the manager Janine, she has been very creative and coming up really good signature drinks and seasonal specials. We use Casa Brazil for our coffee.
What’s the story behind the squirrels in the shop?
We wanted have few focal points and we both agreed the wall paper is good idea. And we found this squirrel wall paper which we though it would do well with our interior. Now we love it!
Where did you find the fish tank/TV? Is there a story behind that?
Moto actually found on Craigslist. One of the coffee shop in Austin, we spent a lot of time together was Flipnotics, and they had TV fish tank long time ago and we really liked it. And Moto went to hunt this, and success!