Yoshi Umeko never had ambitions to open a bar, but when he saw an opportunity to make his mom happy and dive into a new business venture, he couldn't resist.
The business owner opened Yoshi's Bar and Filipino Canteen on April 8 at 831 W. 3rd St., Davenport, bringing Filipino cuisine to the Quad-Cities. He drove by the former 3rd Street Bar & Grill location one day and decided to take a look. He was impressed with the bar itself and the apartment upstairs, which he could open as a short-term rental.
"It was just kind of a diamond in the rough," Umeko said.
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Beyond serving drinks and food, the bar also hosts pool leagues and will have a beach volleyball court in the outdoor area ready by June. It's open noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, noon-midnight Thursdays and noon-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
The decision to enter the food industry was prompted by Umeko's mother, Julia Haddon. He said she was retired from managing an apartment complex and after having a stroke was in declining health. In an effort to both fulfill her dream of running a restaurant and give her a renewed sense of purpose, he bought the space and began preparing for opening day.
Reviews have been positive on Haddon's food so far, Umeko said. Haddon cooks traditional Filipino food with a twist, bringing out flavors without adding too much spice. She moved to the U.S. from the Philippines in 1975.
"I know she's my mom, but it's more than that," Umeko said. "Everybody does love her food."
Haddon honed her skills in the kitchen by cooking for her eight children, 20 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. She doesn't have any background cooking professionally, but she's always wanted to share her food with more than just friends and family.
"I am really enjoying seeing people's smiles," Haddon said. "After they eat my food they say, 'Oh, I'm so full; thank you for the food; it's delicious.' And that's all my hard work."
When she heard her son had bought the bar, Haddon wasn't sure if she wanted to commit to cooking for it. When she retired from managing the apartment complex in 2020, Haddon thought she was done working, especially after she had a stroke.
Despite Haddon's reservations, she decided to go in on the business with Umeko, and hasn't regretted it a bit. She runs the kitchen with two of her friends and gets to see customers smile every day.
"I'm just happy being here, you know? Thanks to God," Haddon said. "He gave me a second life after my stroke, and I'm happy for that life."