February 17, 2022 – by Sandy Vo
As Downtown Bellevue continues to grow, mom-and-pop shops are becoming a rarity. FLO Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar is one of the few remaining in Bellevue. Owners and Bellevue residents Steve and Jia Mooko opened FLO in February 2003, looking to bring a flair of traditional Japanese cuisine to Downtown.
“We wanted to offer new Japanese cuisine to Bellevue by serving higher quality ingredients,” Steve Mooko said.
The Mookos moved from Hawaii to Bellevue in the late 1990s. From the beginning, they saw economic growth potential for independent restaurants.
“You had global corporations moving in alongside rural residence,” Mooko said. “We were in the perfect location to reach a wide audience.”
This year, the Mookos are celebrating 19 years of offering a unique dining experience in Downtown Bellevue.
The concept of FLO was inspired by small traditional Japanese plates focused on fresh ingredients. The atmosphere inside the restaurant is spaciously comfortable, with neutral lighting and soft colors.