Gaijin by Chef Paul Virant is Chicago’s first okonomiyaki restaurant, offering both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the savory Japanese pancake. 

A self-described gaijin, or “outsider” in Japanese, Virant playfully embraces this perspective and honors traditional preparations and techniques, as well as his well-known passion for pickling and preserving. 

Designed to deliver a lively and interactive culinary experience, the 60-seat space is anchored by a custom 12-foot griddle and chef’s counter and offers individual Hiroshima teppan griddles for table service.

Pastry chef Angelyne Canicosa (Vie, Vistro) brings her dessert prowess to Gaijin with a menu featuring kakigori, a shaved ice dessert, along with mochi donuts and other Japanese-inspired treats.

The bar program, led by beverage director Julius White (previously with Vie), showcases highballs and a focused selection of beer – including a Moody Tongue-Gaijin collaboration house lager, sake, Japanese whisky, and wine.

Our menu will be shared soon — we can’t wait to see you at Gaijin!



Paul Virant / Chef and Partner

David Chapman / Executive Sous Chef

Angelyne Canicosa / Pastry Chef

Julius H. White Jr. / Beverage Director

Jonie Seo / General Manager

Lance Richards / Partner