BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Construction is underway on one of downtown Buffalo’s oldest buildings. Developers recently bought the Dun-building on Pearl Street for more than $1.5 million dollars.

Now- a family known for bringing Japanese- style cuisine to Buffalo will open a new space inside. Satomi and Joshua Smith already run two full-service Japanese restaurants on Elmwood Avenue and on Main Street near University at Buffalo’s South Campus.

Their next challenge is to give the basement of the Dun building a makeover, and bring authentic Japanese cuisine with them.

The Smiths met at SUNY Buffalo State when Satomi was an exchange student there. They lived in Japan for some time, but moved back to Josh’s home town. They decided to make roots here and open their “Sato” franchise.

Smith said, “We just felt there was a need for it. We wanted to start out and show Buffalo a variety of different Japanese cuisines. It’s not just sushi.”

They’ll brew beer in-house and offer whats called small plates. But it was the space that mimics restaurants in Japan that sold them.

Smith said, “When we found this with the entrance on the first floor, it’s sort of like a Japanese speak-easy kinda vibe its just really attractive.”

The Dun building was the first high-rise structure in Buffalo. This space has been home to other restaurants too in the past too, but the owners say they’re hopeful they’ll be here to stay

Smith said, “It’s a great time to grow wit the way Buffalo is having a renaissance and culinary growth and i think when you look at a lot of other cities it deserves to have this type of food and we love to make it from scratch.”

The Smiths hope to open their Pearl Street restaurant in January.