Industry Insiders: Nick Haque, Sense of Duty

Before opening, Koi, an upscale Japanese-influenced restaurant in Los Angeles, in 2002, Nick Haque took note of the missing ingredients in the culinary scene. “Working in real estate taught me to appreciate the way each of the senses is inspired when you enter a room,” Haque says. “I realized there was an absence of restaurants that appealed to all of the senses.”

With a commitment to consistency and a focus on making each meal a unique experience — through a combination of design, comfort, and quality food — the Koi Group CEO found success in LA, later opening branches in Las Vegas, Bangkok, and New York’s Bryant Park Hotel. “We challenged ourselves to open restaurants in cities where customers have endless options, and where everyone considers themselves a bit of as connoisseur,” he says, highlighting unique touches such as the “Skinny Menu” for image-savvy diners. In the coming months, Haque hopes to bring Koi to Miami, Dubai, and Washington DC, a city he describes as undergoing an incredible cultural renaissance. “Truly breathtaking art will catch you eye, draw you in, tell you a story, and this is what Koi has achieved,” he says.