By Jackie Chase
For The Diamondback
After years of vacancy, The Enclave will fill one of its open retail spaces with a sushi restaurant in the upcoming months.
LaTAO, a restaurant offering sushi and other Japanese-inspired cuisine, is expected to open underneath the student apartment building in the next three to four months, said Mark Li, who is leasing the space.
The restaurant will occupy about 6,300 square feet of retail space, said Ryan Chelton, who serves as College Park's economic development coordinator.
LaTAO will be open seven days a week, and offers a late night option to customers. The eatery will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The menu ranges from $15 to $30, fitting in with some of the other sushi options in the city. However, the restaurant will also serve Chinese dishes, with an all-you-can-eat hot pot station, Li said. Hot pot is a type of Chinese soup often made of various meats and vegetables.
LaTAO will also have a party room with karaoke that is expected to be available during all operating hours.
Residents such as junior Josh Womack, a psychology major, have mixed reactions about the building's first in-house retail option.
"I'm not personally a sushi fan, but I think it'd be great … to have a place close to come down to eat," Womack said. "I think it's a good idea."
Sushi fans, such as senior Monique Parker, a behavioral and community health major, said she is looking forward to attending LaTAO.
"I think it's really late, but I think it's necessary 'cause I love sushi, I love food," Parker said. "I know I'm about to go broke because I'm like, I love sushi."
The restaurant will be open to residents of The Enclave as well as other students and the public. Li said he thinks college students will be drawn to the restaurant because of its proximity to the University of Maryland campus.
However, Parker said the restaurant will be especially convenient to the building's residents, as The Enclave, located at 8700 Baltimore Ave, is situated a bit further from many of the city's downtown eateries.
Despite having a shuttle, Parker said their options can be limited.
"This Enclave shuttle sucks, and so unless it takes you to campus or unless you have a car or something, which I don't, I'm not gonna feel like Ubering all the way down to like the other half of Route 1," Parker said.
Chelton said he hopes this restaurant will spark a "chain reaction" for the building's retail space and "draw in more retail."