June 9, 2023


Food loaded for bear

New Japanese restaurant coming to Palatine in former Monika’s spot

Building on their experience at restaurants in Japan and in the suburbs, an Arlington Heights couple are opening their first Japanese restaurant in Palatine.

The village council on Monday approved plans for Modun Japanese restaurant at 309 E. Northwest Hwy. in the Palatine Plaza shopping center. The council also granted a special use permit and a beer and wine liquor license for the restaurant, which will open in the 1,850-square-foot space that used to hold Monika’s European Deli.

The owners are Munkh-Orgil Shijirbaatar and her husband, Batsukh Bayarsaikhan. Shijirbaatar said they have signed a lease and expect to get the keys to the space this week. They hope to open in late April, after interior work is finished, she said.

Highland Management, whose portfolio includes Palatine Plaza, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The menu will feature a variety of items, including tempura, ramen soups and sushi, Shijirbaatar said. There will be about 30 seats and 11 employees, according to the plan.

The couple are natives of Mongolia and lived in the Japanese cities of Narita and Sendai for about five years. They’ve lived in the United States for the last five years, Shijirbaatar said.

Bayarsaikhan learned from Japanese chefs and most recently worked as a chef at Mitsuwa Marketplace and Yakitori Boogytori, both in Arlington Heights, she said. Shijirbaatar most recently worked as a server at Umacamon Japanese Kitchen in Rolling Meadows, she said.

The restaurant is named after a Mongolian ruler, she said. According to the website for the Mongolian Embassy to the United States, Modun Shanyu founded the first confederation of Xiongnu people in 209 B.C.

The village council also approved a variation for parking, meaning Palatine Plaza, with a total 562 spaces, was deemed to have enough parking to include the restaurant. The shopping center also features Ace Hardware, Dollar Tree and Planet Fitness.