There are a surplus of Chinese takeout restaurants in Pensacola and quite a few more Chinese buffets, but coming up at the end of June, a slightly elevated, sit-down Chinese restaurant will become an option for foodies, courtesy of a well-established local chef and business owner.
“There’s really no nice Chinese dining restaurants here,” Nippon explained Thursday morning. “I wanted to have a really nice, clean and classic Asian restaurant for local people. So when they want to have some really nice Chinese food, some original food, they have some place to go.”
There will be a fusion element to the new restaurant, which will seat more than 150 people when factoring in Taipei’s outdoor seating space. Nippon’s second eatery has been teasing to a grand opening on Facebook for the past few weeks by posting snippets of its menu.
“What I want to do, because I’m from Taiwan, and Taiwan has a long history with Japan, so that’s why I call it Asian cuisine because there will be a combination of Chinese and Japanese food,” he said. “So if you like Asian food you can always get some of this, some of that to make your stomach feel comfortable.”
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Those online snippets showcased Taipei’s entrée menu, which includes a salty peppercorn duck meal, a pineapple crispy duck meal, a seafood bonanza with shrimp, prawns, mussels, scallops, squid and more, and authentic pork mapo tofu.
Nippon added that he’s excited for guests to try his restaurant’s many pork-based dishes and soups.
“We have a pork belly stew that spent three hours cooking to make it become real tender and cook out the grease,” Nippon said. “It’s so juicy and tender. And after that, the rest of the soup and broth can be mixed with our egg noodles, so it becomes part of the meal, too.”
Noodles and ramen dishes, as well as a host of vegetarian options — like Taipei eggplant and pan fried tofu — round out an extensive menu that Nippon can’t wait to unveil during a series of soft openings beginning Monday.
The seasoned chef said he’s counting the days until he can share his latest vision for Asian cuisine with Pensacola.
“I’m just going to have a nice restaurant in Pensacola so people can have a great place to go, and eat, and hangout together,” Nippon said.
Taipei is located at 5912 N. Davis Highway, Suite C, at the former SharkFin location.
Jake Newby can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8538.