The wait is finally over.
WAFU Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar is now open at 1101 N. Berkeley Blvd., next to the Staples office supply store.
Construction on the building, which previously housed a mattress store, started after the business owners secured a commercial building permit with the city of Goldsboro in late May, said Shanita Coor, a permit technician in the Goldsboro Inspections Department.
After months of renovating the building and converting it into a restaurant, WAFU was provided with its certificate of occupancy Tuesday, which allowed the restaurant to open.
Inside the 4,800-square-foot restaurant, which can seat 172 customers, is a dining area where customers can order from the menu, a sushi bar where customers can sit and place an order and hibachi grills where customers can sit and watch as a chef cooks their food.
“We have the hibachi showtime,” said assistant manager Elaine Chen. “It can make life fun.”
WAFU opened Thursday and its operating hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
The sushi bar offers customers the opportunity to choose from raw or cooked fish or vegetable sushi. Orders can be made from the menu or customized, Chen said.
“It’s how the customer like it,” she said. “It is better to ask the chef how you want your sushi to be made.”
As for the dining and hibachi grill areas of the restaurant, customers are seated and place their order. Food will be prepared and served to customers who decide to eat in the dining area.
Customers who decide to sit at the hibachi grill will have their food prepared in front of them by a chef.
With two grill tops, the hibachi grill area can seat 10 or more people, allowing for customers to eat, drink and mingle with one other easily, Chen said.
Owner Xin Lin and his brother, Luis Liu, have been in the restaurant business for six years, operating multiple locations in Greenville, Fayetteville and South Carolina.
Their other restaurants serve hibachi and sushi as well as rice bowls and Korean barbecue.
Lin operates 37 restaurants in South Carolina and is planning to expand further in North Carolina, he said.
“A city like Goldsboro needs a something you can interact, like a restaurant you can interact where people that cook in front of you, getting more activity during the time you’re eating,” Lin said.
Lin said he wanted to set up shop on Berkeley Boulevard not only because of the availability of parking but also because many restaurants are located along the busy thoroughfare.
“My husband and his friend go to a lot of locations but they came to Goldsboro and I think they check everything, they check from here and they never see the hibachi and sushi restaurant here, that’s why we want to open here,” Chen said.
The restaurant was originally planned to open in December but delays with construction and other challenges led to the business opening in January, Chen said.
The restaurant has a website that includes a menu of items at www.wafusteakhouse.com.