Jeff Johnson talks about Oshi and Agave Maria

In the words of Jeff Johnson, owner of Local on the Square and Local Gastropub, “burgers, pizza and tacos never seem to go out of style.”

Which may explain his newest restaurant concepts opening soon. Oshi, his new burger eatery with a kind of Japanese motif, is opening in a few months in the space Downtown formerly occupied by Dream Berry Frozen Yogurts & Treats. Johnson described it as a sit-down restaurant, where diners will order through a waiter, “kind of an upscale burger joint.”

“It’s got an homage to Japanese culture slightly, through the design and menu,” said Johnson, who adds that he hopes it can be open as soon as the first of April, though he’s more committed to “taking the time to make sure things are done 100 percent right.”

He adds that local sourcing will be an important component of Oshi. It will have local farmers providing produce when possible, for example, and things like pork, lamb and buns will be made and sourced locally.

Johnson said he thought the name Oshi sounded interesting and fit the concept. It should be noted that Oshi is a sumo wrestling move in which an opponent is pushed away – so perhaps there’s a subtle message to his competition there.

The other new concept Johnson is working on is Agave Maria, which he describes as “an old school cantina meets Mexico City bistro.” It will be located on Union Avenue Downtown next to Parking Can Be Fun and he hopes to have it open around May.

“It will be a Mexican bistro with fresh local ingredients,” he said, adding that drinks “will be heavy on the tequila side of things.”