Fans of The Fusion in Frankfort are looking forward to the restaurant owners’ newest venture in downtown Traverse City. Fusion Love will serve Asian street fare with an emphasis on fast, flavorful takeout.
As of October 3, 2016, plans for Fusion Love have been halted due to building issues. Fusion’s owners are hoping to find another location downtown.
Owners VaChong and Bobbiesee Ku met in Traverse City 20 years ago. “Traverse City is my home, and I’ve always wanted to give back to a city that has loved me and my family so much,” VaChong says. “Fusion Love is going to be intimate. It’s our love note to our Traverse City friends who have supported us all these years.”
With the help of Traverse City designer Shane Inman, VaChong and Bobbiesee first started looking for a new restaurant space about eight years ago. They wanted to be on Front Street but couldn’t find the right building. Years later, they found the space they were looking for.
The new Traverse City restaurant will be located at 317 E. Front Street next to the Michigan Artists Gallery. But transforming the former office space into a modern restaurant is no small task. The design process is being led by Shane with help from local builders.
Shane is the president and senior principal designer of his business, The Inman Company. The residential and commercial interior design firm started off small in Traverse City but is now based in Manhattan with offices in Traverse City and Chicago. “Traverse City is my hometown,” Shane says. “It’s where I started my business, and the community believed in me. I want to do something magnificent for them.” Fusion Love will be the first restaurant in Shane’s portfolio.
“KA Construction has done all of my jobs in Traverse City for the past five years,” Shane says. “Kris knows how I design like the back of his hand just like I know how he works.”
The design of Shane’s first restaurant is bold. “I want to do something people are scared to do; all black,” he says. “People feel black makes spaces look small, and Traverse City is a small, cozy town. We want a big city feel.”
Walking in, visitors will be presented with two options: takeout or sit-down dining. For those on the go, the takeout menu will be featured on the wall. After ordering, guests can wait at the window-side bar overlooking Front Street or sample free teas at the tea station.
A window next to the counter will offer views of the kitchen. Once a guest’s order number is called, they can check their bag, and if something is missing, make a request straight to the kitchen.
In the dining area, a wall of windows offers views of the Boardman River and West Grand Traverse Bay. A community table will be available for large groups or for individuals to come and meet other diners. Touches of gold will accent the black decor.
One of Shane’s favorite features of the design plan is the electrical outlets and USB ports that will be available at every dining table and in the takeout area. “It’s going to be a very tech-friendly restaurant,” he says. In addition, free device charges will be available for guests to use and take home with them.
“We’re only 6 weeks into the project, but in my mind I already see this space finished,” Shane says. “I’m already walking through the restaurant.”
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