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Cloud 9 Asian Bistro to open in Duluth's Canal Park

A large Chinese Buddha looms large in the Cloud 9 Asian Bistro dining room, draped with wires from the construction that’s underway. (Steve Kuchera / 1 / 3
Raymond Wang hopes to draw tourists to his family’s new Asian restaurant in Canal Park at 308 S. Lake Ave. It probably will open early next month. (Steve Kuchera / )2 / 3
Cloud 9 Asian Bistro will have two entrances, including this rear lake-side entrance. (Steve Kuchera / / 3

When Thai Krathong restaurant closed in Canal Park in September, the owners of the Osaka Japanese restaurant didn’t waste any time.

They signed a lease for the space.

Now, after months of construction, the new restaurant — Cloud 9 Asian Bistro — is on track to open in early June.

Raymond Wang, whose family owns both businesses, said they’re opening a restaurant in Canal Park to tap into the city’s tourism market.

“This is where the people are,” he said.

While their Osaka Sushi, Hibachi and Steak House near Miller Hill Mall is doing well and will continue, tourists don’t venture over the hill to go there, Wang said.

“It’s too far away,” he said.

Osaka, which opened in 2010, was the first in the Duluth areas to have teppanyaki-style dining, grills built into diners’ tables where Japanese cuisine is cooked up with finesse.

Like Osaka, Cloud 9 Asian Grill, will be a classy restaurant with hibachi stations, although fewer than at Osaka. That’s because the Canal Park restaurant will offer a combination of Asian food — Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese as well as Japanese — with moderate prices similar to Osaka’s in Burning Tree Plaza.

Construction to make over the space began last fall. It’s taken a long time because property owner Sherman Associates had a sprinkler system installed, and getting through all the planning and permits took time, said Kathy Marinac, the property manager.

The front of the restaurant will have a bar and sit-down dining area for ordering off the menu, presided over by a large Buddha statue from China for ambience.

But when the new Asian bistro opens, the owners won’t be done, Wang said.

“We’re still looking for another location, probably in Duluth, he said.

It would be their third in the city.