Pepper Lunch: Excited and mesmerized by the food grilled right in front of you! Fast food steak house, “Pepper Lunch”

Pepper Lunch: E... Pepper Lunch: E... Pepper Lunch: E... Pepper Lunch: E... Pepper Lunch: E... Pepper Lunch: E...
By Aya Ota

A steak specialty fast food franchise, “Pepper Lunch”,opened its first New York location on March 21 of this year, and is drawing a lot of attention because the second location opened on July 3, already only 3 and a half months later.

At “Pepper Lunch”,, you order and pay first, and sit down at a table, and wait. Then, a sizzling hot iron plate arrives, and you, the customer, cooks your steak by yourself.

Not only can you cook your steak to your favorite doneness, but you canalso make it to suit your taste by adding their original steak sauce and toppings. Popularity was spurred by the fact that you can have good quality steak at a reasonable cost, and they have so far developed 470 locations in 16 countries worldwide (136 in Japan).

“Pepper Food Services Co., Ltd.” (“Kuni’s Corporation” in US), whichruns this restaurant chain, opened their first location in the US in February of 2017. They brought “Ikinari Steak”, their super popular chain in Japan known for its unique style of selling by weight, and having you eat standing up, on top of low pricing, to the East Village District of New York, and became the topic of conversation. Only within 2 years, they expanded their business to 11 locations in New York. In October of 2018, they got listed on NASDAQ as the first restaurant business from Japan. However, due to the later slow-down of the achievement, they were forced to make a big change in their business strategy, and closed 7 locations this year. They also made an announcement to withdraw from NASDAQ this fall.

Kunio Ichinose, Founder & CEO admits humbly; “Back then, I was stuck with the idea of replicating the Japanese way. I had no fear and was reckless. What to serve by how much and to whom? I was wrong about this from the start of our coming to the US,” he continues. Here in the States, steak is a luxurious and special food. The quality and taste of what we offered was well accepted, but low pricing and stand-up eating style did not go well.

Moreover, due to the facts such as the hasty increase of locations, and having a no-tipping system caused hardship in hiring and educating of the staff, which eventually led to compromising in the quality of the service. And this time, as the result of the big trajectory correction, they will concentrate on enhancing the brand power by continuing to run “Ikinari Steak” at 2 out of the 4 remaining locations, and develop “Pepper Lunch” at the other 2 locations because this model has a good record in developing overseas.

Overseas development of “Pepper Lunch” started 14 or 15 years ago in Singapore. They went to Australia next, and kept progressing differently from Japan in creating menus and developing styles according to the local needs. In 2018, they opened 2 locations in LA. They are developing this New York locations by bringing in a lot of these other overseas successful experiences from the past.

Their signature dish is the “Pepper Rice”, in which steak and rice is cooked together like fried rice. Since the opening of the first New York location, they have been quickly taking note of customers’ preferences, and started to serve variations with seafood such as shrimp and salmon. In addition to the steadily-desired steaks, they have added dishes combined with a hamburger patty and curry, which are not often found in the US. They also added combo dishes to the menu such as a 2 different kinds of steak combo, and combination dishes with a hamburger patty on the menu. They use only top 36% quality USDA certified Angus beef. Cup-sake is also offered, and is well accepted. They are steadily increasing fans by excitement and the heightened emotions that the customers feel from eating self-cooked food with lively noise and aroma.

They are planning to open another franchise restaurant in Las Vegas by the end of this year. Mr. Ichinose’s ambition “to spread casual steak culture, in which you eat steak regularly, and Japanese steak to all over the US” is unstoppable.

目の前で焼き上げる興奮と感動 ファストフード・ステーキハウス『ペッパーランチ』



同チェーンを運営する『株式会社ペッパーフードサービス』(米国法人『Kuni’s Corporation』)の米国初進出は2017年2月のこと。量り売りしたステーキを立ち食いするという独自性と低価格がウリで日本国内でも圧倒的な人気を誇る『いきなり!ステーキ』を、ニューヨークのイーストヴィレッジ地区に開店し話題となった。その後わずか2年でニューヨーク市内に11店舗まで拡大。2018年10月には、日本の外食産業では初となるナスダック上場も果たした。しかし、その後の業績不振により、大幅な戦略変更を強いられ、今年に入って7店舗を閉店したほか、今秋にはナスダック上場廃止することも発表した。





Pepper Lunch Broadway
243 W 54th St. New York, NY 10019
(917) 472-7158

Pepper Lunch Chelsea
154 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011
(917) 409-5857


Mon.-Sun. 11:00am-11:00pm
(Last Call: 10:30pm)
#PapperLunch #steak #NY


Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ramen in Nagoya, a simple taste derived from nature

Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ... Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ... Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ... Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ... Josui Ramen: Hugely popular ...
By Keiko Fukuda

The two words, “Nagoya” and “ramen”, were not linked together in my mind.

Then, in May of 2019, a friend, who is from Nagoya, asked me to go to this Nagoya-originated establishment with me, which just had its grand opening. That was when I first recognized Josui Ramen. Here, in Los Angeles, it has been a while since the popularity of tonkotsu ramen settled in, and lately, shoyu ramen is also gaining attention. This Josui Ramen’s signature ramen is, however, shio ramen. Besides shio ramen, their menu also contains shoyu ramen, miso ramen, tantan men, and yusoba. However, I thought that I could not judge how good they really were unless I tried the signature dish. So, I ordered the Josui ramen, which had a flavor so tender and deep.

After the visit, I often heard from my acquaintances saying, “I went to Josui Ramen”. I wanted to find out how well they had been doing after their first launching in the US, so I visited them again a while after the grand opening.

Three people, Mr. Yasuhiro Maruyama and Mr. Hiroya Morikawa, the partners/owners of Josui Ramen America, and Mr. Tomohiro Maehara, the chef sent from the Nagoya headquarters, welcomed me. I found out that the Josui Ramen chain is so enormously popular that they have won No. 1 status in various ramen ranking contests in the Tokai region of Japan. Chef Maehara, whose family in his hometown runs a ramen restaurant, had visited as many ramen restaurants as possible, and then decided to work for Josui Ramen. I asked him what part of Josui he found attractive. He answered, “You usually cannot separate ramen from the use of synthetic seasoning, but Josui’s ramen is made only with all natural flavors. You can taste the goodness of natural ingredients with Josui’s ramen.”

In view of launching a full-fledged business in the States, Josui Ramen started to participate in ramen fairs held in Orange County, etc., a few years ago under the direction of Mr. Tateo Araki, CEO of Wildwood co. Ltd, their management company. Convinced of a firm possibility of success felt there, they were looking for a location in the Los Angeles area. The present location in Torrance was introduced during that time when the building was unused due to renovation. The owner of the property is Mr. Maruyama, who runs a restaurant/karaoke bar next door to the present Josui Ramen, and another one in Lomita, an adjacent town. Maruyama-san wanted to join the launch of Nagoya’s Josui Ramen in the US, and decided to invest in it, and then Mr. Morikawa joined in its operation by being called by Maruyama-san.

This restaurant had a soft opening in the fall of 2018, and experienced some hardship before finally making the grand opening. I asked Mr. Maehara, who worked for 6 years with the Josui Ramen business in Nagoya, about the difference of the US from it. He said, “First, the water is different, so we installed a machine to make the water soft. We also struggled to find chicken that could produce good dashi. We continued the search of good enough chicken, and were finally able to find it through the help of a Japanese American company.” He said, that they have reached the stable and consistent taste now.

Only in America, they offer vegan ramen on the menu. They newly added this item, which doesn’t exist in Nagoya, knowing that there are many more vegans in the US than expected. Konbu is used for shoyu ramen, and soy milk is used for miso ramen.

As of July of this year, 60% of the customers are Japanese. All 3 say the same thing. “We came here to convey the authentic taste of Nagoya ramen, so we want to increase the ratio of the local customers from now on.” In order to realize the purpose of “conveying the real ramen taste to America”, they must be looking for the possibility of further development of the chain, I thought. I asked them about it. Each gentleman passionately spoke about their thoughts on Josui. Mr. Maruyama said, “I aim for conquering the whole US, but I would like to firmly stabilize this Torrance location first. I am expecting some after-Karaoke crowd since we are right next to it.” Mr. Morikawa said, “I’d like many people to know that there is such simple, but delicious ramen besides tonkotsu.” Mr. Maehara said, “I’d like people to taste our ramen made with so much care and particularity.”

名古屋の大人気ラーメン 自然由来のシンプルな味わい







Josui Ramen
2212 Artesia Blvd
Torrance, CA 90504

(310) 505-5124

11:30am-2:00pm, 5:30pm-9:30pm

Closed Tuesdays
#JosuiRamen #torrance


KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake: Part II

By Kosuke Kuji

A documentary film featuring three female Japanese sake brewers, “KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake” kicked off in Tokyo in April 2019.

Three female sake brewers star in this documentary film: Miho Imada, CEO and Master Sake Brewer of Imada Sake Brewery Co., Ltd., producing “Fukucho” in Hiroshima prefecture; Marie Chiba, the charismatic manager of sake bar “GEM by moto” in the Ebisu district of Tokyo, also active as an author of books on pairing sake; and lastly, Rebekah Wilson-Lye, a New Zealand national and sake consultant of JAPAN CRAFT SAKE COMPANY owned by Hidetoshi Nakada, former professional Japanese soccer player.

The first film in which I also starred in, “KAMPAI! For the Love of Sake,” directed by Mirai Konishi based in Los Angeles, depicted the historic background of Japanese sake production that traditionally banned women from participation, but since evolved to include female brewers and Master Sake Brewers in many breweries today, actively involved in producing quality sake, along with many women visible in promoting and serving customers today. This documentary centers around three female pioneers leading Japanese sake production today.
The cast of participating brewers include renowned names, such as members of the Hiroshima Sake Makers Association, Owner Tadayoshi Onishi of “Jikon” in Mie prefecture, member brewers of “Next 5” leading Akita prefecture, and many other renowned brewers.

With the goal to brew sake more freely and enjoyably, this film tells the stories of three women captivated by the allure of Japanese sake, and the latest in the Japanese sake production industry. This film will likely be screened in the U.S. in the future, so please attend a screening if possible.

「映画カンパイ その2」


この映画は、主人公は3人の女性になります。広島県で「富久長」を醸す今田酒造本店の代表取締役で杜氏の今田美穂さん、東京恵比寿の日本酒バー「GEM by moto」のカリスマ店長で、ペアリングの本なども執筆する岩手出身の千葉麻里絵さん、そして、ニュージーランド出身でサッカー元日本代表の中田英寿さんが率いるJAPAN CRAFT SAKE COMPANY所属で、日本酒コンサルタントのレベッカ・ウィルソンライさん。



#KAMPAI #sake


“KANPAI – For the Love of Sake: Part I”

By Kosuke Kuji

Los Angeles-based Mirai Konishi produced “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake” from crowdfunding, released in 2015.

After a world premiere at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the film was also screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival, and various film festivals domestic and abroad.

Starting from Iwate prefecture in 2016, the screening started north from Hokkaido, south from Okinawa, and continued on be screened and broadcast in 13 different countries.

Shinjoro Koizumi of The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan was said to be so moved by this film, he was driven to show it to fellow congressmen in his party, realized by a screening at The Liberal Democratic Party headquarters, further selected for broadcast in international flights with Japan Air Lines (JAL), widely viewed and loved nationwide.

This film is a documentary film on three outsiders. The main character is Philip Harper, Chief Brewer of “Tamagawa Brewery” in Kyoto prefecture, the first to assume this position in the world. The other main characters are John Gautner, a sake ambassador active in the U.S.; and myself, I manage a brewery.

In the U.S., the film was screened in Los Angeles in New York.

In Los Angeles, the Consul General hosted a screening party. This film had a great impact on sake fans in Japan and worldwide.

Currently, “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake” is currently available for viewing on Netflix, and the DVD is on sale on Amazon.

Due to the overwhelmingly positive review the film received, Director Konishi produced “KANPAI – For the Love of Sake 2,” and the screening started this year.

「映画カンパイ その1」









#sake #KANPAI


The much-needed standardization of labels

By Yuji Matsumoto

I had an opportunity to hold a Japanese sake seminar at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

What they wanted to know most was the difference between cold and hot sake, brewing process, ingredients and health-related questions, mostly about “How to select your preferred sake.” What is the basis of selecting sake, and where are the descriptions of the sake listed? There were many unknown factors involved in selecting sake. Since over ten years ago, I’ve published the need to standardize labels for Japanese sake, and to display necessary information to the Japanese sake industry. However, I’m disappointed to see that we still haven’t moved forward with these efforts.

For example, the appropriate range of temperature to enjoy sake, compatible cuisines, and to incorporate simple flavors and aromas. The reason why we still don’t see these subjects addressed within the industry is because those affiliated with Japanese sake (including within the U.S.) knows nothing about the happenings on site.The sales of Japanese sake in Japan vs. U.S. is approximately 2% on average, so there’s no motivation. However, it would make sense to try and standardize the labels to ease understanding for consumers.








라벨 통일에 대한 요구
국제교류기금 로스앤젤레스 일본문화센터에서 니혼슈에 관한 세미나를 열 기회가 있었습니다.

그들이 가장 알고 싶어 하는 것은 차가운 술과 뜨겁게 데운 술의 차이, 제조 방법, 원료나 건강적인 측면 등에 대한 질문이 있었지만, "자신이 좋아하는 타입의 술을 어떻게 선택하면 좋은가"라는 질문이 많았습니다. 즉, 무엇을 기준으로 선택하는지, 맛이나 향에 관한 프로필은 어디에 쓰여 있는지에 관한 질문입니다. 수십 년 동안 니혼슈의 라벨 통일화와 정보 표시의 필요성을 니혼슈 업계에 전달해 왔지만 전혀 진척되지 않고 있는 현실이 매우 유감스럽습니다. 예를 들어, 표시 라벨에 적정 음주 온도의 범위, 궁합이 잘 맞는 음식, 간단한 맛과 향을 표기하는 것입니다. 아직도 업계 전반에 걸쳐 이러한 움직임이 전혀 보이지 않는 이유는, 아마도 니혼슈와 관련된(미국도 포함) 사람들이 현장을 전혀 모르기 때문일 것입니다.

일본과 미국의 니혼슈 판매 금액을 비교하면 평균 약 2%에도 미치지 못하기 때문에 무리일 수도 있지만, 좀 더 소비자 친화적인 통일된 라벨을 검토해 주었으면 합니다.
#sake #standardization


Creating new lines of people in New York, “Momofuku Noodle Bar”

Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li...
By Aya Ota

“Momofuku Group” has always been drawing people’s attention with its innovative concept. Since its opening of “Momofuku Noodle Bar” in 2004 in the East Village District by David Chung, a chef and restaurant entrepreneur, the Group has been growing at an amazing speed. It has developed about 15 various restaurants from casual to high-end, mainly in New York, including Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. It has also developed fast food chains: “Fuku” of fried chicken sandwiches, and “Milk Bar” of sweets & bakery.

David Chung has won various awards which include the Best Chef Award by James Beard Foundation. He is a star chef who is often featured in all kinds of media, who was also selected by Esquire magazine as one of “the most influential people of the 21st Century” along with the politician, Hillary Clinton, the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

“Noodle Bar”, the leader of this Group’s development, has always been creating a line of waiting people since its 2004 opening, and the second NY location at Columbus Circle which opened at the end of last year after a long wait, is also creating a new line.

“Noodle Bar” is managed by Tony Kim, Executive Chef. He has a unique background. He used to be in the marketing industry, but his passion for cooking made him go into the restaurant industry. After building a career in California in a few restaurant groups, he moved to New York in 2011, and joined “Momofuku Group” in 2013.

Both the founder, David, and Tony are second-generation Korean Americans. Not to mention they have been influenced by Korean home cooking, David has been trained in Japan as well. So, not only by Japanese food ingredients, they have also been greatly influenced by Japanese cooking methods and philosophy. Their bacon dashi has the characteristics of umami of bonito flakes and smoky fragrance. They are firm about the idea of “creating no waste of food, and use the fat from grilling chicken for soup and oil to make fried chicken. Tony has used various Japanese food ingredients such as miso and soy sauce to create new tastes. He said that he always tries to combine ingredients without overpowering their originalities.

Although the name is Noodle Bar, there are only 5 noodle dishes, and the rest is offered by category like Chinese buns (Bread), small plates, vegetables, and large plates. It appears that the number of menu items is not very many, but they also offer “today’s special”, and a daily-changing signature menu item in which plenty of seasonal local ingredients are used to keep repeat customers interested. Since New York is the type of place where a wide variety of customers reside, they pay attention to give a good balance in their menu selection. As for food ingredients, they use a rich variety of meat, fish, and vegetables, and also a wide variety for flavoring from spicy to mild. This Group established “Momofuku Culinary Lab” in 2010. Using traditional Japanese and Korean cooking methods, they have developed seasonings and furikake toppings that suit the preferences of Americans, and use them in the restaurant. The Chinese buns are also all particularly made by hand.

Inside of the restaurant, a kitchen counter is installed on one side, and a bar counter on the other side to give the feeling of presence, and to accommodate all customers in all situations, there are tables and chairs in the center.

In 2020, another Noodle Bar is supposed to open in Los Angeles. They keep opening restaurants of new business models in New York and Las Vegas as well. I cannot keep my eyes off of these current trends.


 常に斬新なコンセプトで注目を浴び続ける『モモフク・グループ』。シェフでレストラン実業家のデイヴィッド・チャン氏が、2004年にイーストヴィレッジ地区に『モモフク・ヌードル・バー』を開店以来、破竹の勢いで成長を続け、現在ニューヨークを中心に、ワシントンD.C.、ラスベガス、ロサンゼルス、オーストラリア・シドニー、カナダ・トロントに、カジュアルな店から高級店まで約15店舗展開する。また、フライドチキン・サンドイッチのファストフード店『Fuku』、スイーツ&ベーカリーの『Milk Bar』をチェーン展開している。







Momofuku Noodle Bar
The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019


Lunch - Daily 11:30 am – 4 pm
Dinner - Daily 5 pm – 10:30 pm
The bar remains open from 4 – 5 pm
#NY #MomofukuNoodleBar


Popular restaurant hidden on a residential street, “Organic Vegan” VegiLicious

Popular restaur... Popular restaur...
By Keiko Fukuda

I heard that VegiLicious is an organic vegan restaurant as you can imagine from its name, and not only that, it is a Japanese restaurant. How could I resist going there? The restaurant is located in Huntington Beach, a surfers’ town. It stands quietly in a corner of a mall, about a 10 minute drive towards the ocean from the 405 Freeway. It is surrounded by relaxed residential streets away from busy streets.

I arrived at the restaurant at 2:30 in the afternoon after the peak lunch time. I saw 2 groups of people eating enjoyably. The lady who was cheerfully talking to the customers as she was serving, was Atsuko Nakao, and the gentleman who came out and talked frankly to the customers who were having desserts, was Akira Nakao. They are the Japanese married couple who run this hidden popular restaurant, and also the only working staff who does everything for the restaurant.
First, I tried their popular menu item, the Kobe BBQ Bowl. I came up with a simple question. Why Kobe beef, at a vegan restaurant? I understood after they explained to me that the meat was made from soybeans which had been developed for vegans after a series of trial and errors, and made almost as identical to the real thin-sliced grilled beef. Even though I knew that it was made with soybeans, I felt the meaty texture in my mouth. It went very well with the sweet and spicy sauce and the brown rice underneath, which gave me quite a bit of satisfaction. Not only that, the fact that “it is not meat” gave me no sense of guilt that I usually feel. The salad dressing is also house-made. They must be very passionate about the business for being so particular about organic ingredients, making everything in-house, and running the place only by themselves.

The owner, Akira-san, is a 2-time adult-class all-Japan wrestling champion. After coming to the US, he had worked at 2 Japanese restaurants as a manager before he opened this restaurant. While working, he gradually developed a desire to run his own organic vegan restaurant. I asked him the reason. He said, “While I was managing my own health as a wrestler, I actually felt myself getting over the exhaustion faster, and healthier by eating more pork than beef, more chicken than pork, more fish than chicken, and even more soybean products such as tofu and natto than fish as my main diet.” He said that he came to his senses to this eating style which he currently offers, through his own experiences.

After taking 7months to find the property, and another 10 months to build, VegiLicious finally opened in February of 2013. When you look at the menu, you see a lot of choices, and a rich variety of items; 3 rice bowl dishes including the Kobe BBQ, as many as 7 kinds of curry dishes, 1 ramen bowl, 5 combination plates, soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and desserts. You can also purchase their house-made salad dressing at the store section.

Because of the way their dishes are prepared with organic-only ingredients and no additives, which takes time and labor, this married couple are the only ones working for this restaurant in order to save labor costs. “Everything, from buying, cooking, and serving, to cleaning is done by us only,” says Akira-san. Even so, the couple wears a cheerful smile, and doesn’t show any stress, maybe because of their healthy food and lifestyle they lead, and offering it to their customers. It seems like they are living in a spiral of maintaining health by the power of food despite busy work, providing satisfaction to the customers by the good food, and getting even busier. I got a strong impression that only because they do everything by themselves, their mission-like desire, to “Make people healthy and happy with organic vegan cooking”, is being conveyed directly to their customers, and the number of their fans is growing.

I asked how many customers they were attracting because of that thinking, and how many rotations they have for dinner time sales. They said, “It depends. Some spend only 15 minutes to finish, and others, like a big group for instance, could take 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the whole experience.” You can easily guess how popular they are by knowing that the wait time could be as long as 30 minutes in the waiting line to get in.









16821 Algonquin St., #103, Huntington Beach, CA


11:45am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-9:00pm

Closed Tuesdays
#VegiLicious #organic #vegan


The possibilities of Shochu

By Yuji Matsumoto

While sparkling wine and flavored wine is no doubt popular, another surprisingly popular beverage is shochu (distilled liquor).

Shochu on-the-rocks, mixed with lemon soda or with Calpis soda are also popular among American consumers.

From the restaurant side’s perspective, especially in California, the greatest advantage of selling shochu is that despite being a distilled liquor, as long as the alcohol level is less than 24 percent, shochu can still be sold with a Beer & Wine license. Surprisingly however, few restaurants are effectively incorporating shochu into their alcohol list. Judging from the response from customer, it seems as if more participants were interested in purchasing shochu than Japanese sake, which means there are still great sales opportunities for shochu.

Even without a bartender, shochu highball can be easily prepared by mixing shochu with lemon juice, grape juice, lychee juice and carbonated water, with high profit rate. There is no difficult explanation involved other than “Japanese vodka” for easy understanding and acceptance by American consumers.

Also, maritinis, mojitos, Bloody Mary, and various other vodka and tequila-based cocktails can be made with shochu. Therefore, I look forward to more American consumers trying shochu.




レストラン側から見ると、特にカリフォルニア州では、蒸留酒にもかかわらずアルコール24%以下ならBeer & Wineライセンスでも販売できるのが最大のメリットだ。しかし、現場をみるとこの焼酎を有効的に活用しているレストランは意外と少ない。お客の反応からみると日本酒を買って帰る人より焼酎を購入したい人が多いということは、販促によってまだ伸びる可能性があるということだ。


何も焼酎を難しく説明することはなく、単に“Japanese Vodka”と言えば簡単に理解され、アメリカ人に受け入れられる。

このほかにマティーニやモヒト、さらには、Bloody Maryなどウォッカ やテキーラで作れるほとんどのカクテルが焼酎で出来るのでぜひ試されたい。







소주의 가능성

발포주와 플레이버주는 늘 인기를 끌고 있는데 의외로 소주도 좋은 평가를 받고 있습니다.

소주는 온더록이나 레몬와리, 칼피스와리 모두 미국 사람들에게 인기가 있다.

레스토랑 입장에서 보면, 특히 캘리포니아주에서는, 증류주라도 알코올이 24% 이하면 Beer & Wine 라이센스로도 판매할 수 있어 큰 메리트가 있습니다. 그러나 실제 이 소주를 효과적으로 활용하는 레스토랑은 의외로 적습니다. 고객의 반응을 보면 니혼슈를 사가는 사람보다 소주를 구입하려는 사람이 많은데, 판촉만 제대로 한다면 아직도 성장 가능성이 있다고 볼 수 있습니다.

바텐더가 없어도 레몬주스, 포도주스, 리치주스와 탄산으로 높은 마진의 칵테일 (츄하이)을 간단히 만들 수 있습니다.

소주를 어렵게 설명하지 말고 간단히 "Japanese Vodka" 라고 소개하면 미국 사람들도 쉽게 이해하고 받아들일 수 있습니다.

이것 말고도 마티니나 모히토, Bloody Mary 같은 보드카나 데킬라로 만드는 대부분의 칵테일도 소주로 만들 수 있으니 꼭 시도해보시기 바랍니다.
#alljapannews #shochu


An innovative concept which never existed in New York before. “ZAUO” where you can eat the fish you have just caught

An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c...
By Aya Ota

“ZAUO”, where you can have the fish you have just caught cooked, and eat right there----a restaurant with such an innovative concept which is unprecedented in New York, is the talk of the town now.

First, the customer would decide which fish he or she wants to catch. In the restaurant, there are 3 fish tanks, and about 10 different kinds of live seafood items, which alternate every season, are kept there, and consist of rainbow trout, striped-bass, fluke, flounder, lobster, Dungeness crab, abalone, etc. Depending on the kind of fish, the tools and methods of catching differ. Staff called “Fish Attendants” would help you so you don’t need to worry. Once you catch your aimed item, the floor staff cheers for you by hitting a drum. After that, you choose the cooking method of your choice: salt grilled, tempura, simmered in soy sauce, sake-steamed, etc. Half & Half, in which a piece of fish is divided into 2 halves, and one half is used for shabu shabu, and the other half is salt grilled, etc., is especially popular. It makes you feel really special that you eat what you just caught which is cooked immediately while it is still fresh. There are additional services such as making miso soup with the fish head and bones, making crunchy senbei of fried fluke or flounder bones, etc. You can taste your caught item in its entirety without wasting any part.

Besides the above-mentioned fishing menu, for which the fished items are cooked, they offer a rich variety of a-la-carte menu items such as sushi, sashimi, seafood bowl, salad, and miso soup. You can start fishing right away, or you can enjoy sake and appetizers first, and then challenge yourself to fish. The restaurant has 3 stories. The first floor has lively seating near large fish tanks, private room like spaces, and a bar counter. You can watch fish swimming underneath from the mezzanine floor, or the 2nd floor interior gives you the sense of being on a boat, Whether you are a couple, part of a group, or by yourself, you can enjoy various ambiences by going to different floors. Customers often use this place for family outings with children or for birthday parties. From this June, they have just started using the 3rd floor. It is a quiet space very different from the 1st and 2nd floor, and omakase sushi is served there.

I can imagine that in order to realize such an unprecedented concept, they must have experienced a lot of difficulties in building construction and application for permits, etc., on top of gaining the understanding and cooperation of the involved parties. However, “I never really thought that I was struggling,” says Mr. Takuya Takahashi, President of Zauo Inc. cheerfully. He is also the Vice President of Harbor House Inc. (based in Fukuoka), which has developed 13 “ZAUO”s in Japan. This company was founded in1986, and was originally operated as an apparel business dealing with novelty products and uniforms. They expanded their business, and have developed a total of 20 restaurants besides “ZAUO”s, which include izakaya and teishoku chains. In 2014, when he was visiting New York with his brother, the President of Harbor House Inc., he felt the strong urge to do something in this town full of diversity. Back then, he was doing the market research and looking for locations flexibly without focusing on a particular business model. Then, he decided to develop the “ZAUO” concept, which has a strong, unique characteristic that differs from others. Sometimes, the experience and knowledge he gained from “ZAUO”, Japan, was useful, but some things were totally different in the US. Many customers come for the fishing experience without recognizing the restaurant as a Japanese restaurant, and taste Japanese food or sake for the first time. Some want rice as a side menu item of the western cuisine, so they started to offer it for free. In order to accommodate diversified preferences, restricted diets, and allergies, they offer meats, and vegetarian dishes as well. For those who are not accustomed to eating whole fish, they serve it with no skin and bones to attentively respond to the detailed needs. Moreover, they created a position called “Fish Attendant”, which exists only at this restaurant, and educate the staff for it so they can become confident and take joy in this unique position. Mr. Takahashi himself, who has the determining rights, takes the lead on site, so flexibility and power of actuation is excellent.

“I would like to produce joyfulness, focusing on the importance of sense of unity among customers and staff,” says Mr. Takahashi. His quote also holds a wish for having people understand not only the joys of eating something they caught themselves, but also conveying the understanding of expressing gratitude for each precious life to be taken and consumed with respect.





これまでに例のない概念を実現するには、関係者の理解や協力を得ることはもちろん、建設工事や許認可申請など多くの障害があっただろう。しかし、「あまり苦労していると感じたことはない」と明るい笑顔で話す『ZAUO INC.』社長の高橋拓也氏氏。日本で『釣船茶屋ざうお』を13店舗を展開する『株式会社ハーバーハウス』(本社:福岡県)の副社長でもある。1986年創業の同社は、もともとノベルティ商品やユニフォームなどのアパレル業からスタートしたが、事業を拡大し、『ざうお』以外でも居酒屋や定食屋など複数の業態を含め約20店舗を展開する。2014年に、高橋氏が社長である兄と、市場調査を目的にニューヨークを訪れていたときに「多様性あふれるこの街で何かやりたい」と直観。当初は業態を絞り込むことなく柔軟に調査や物件探しを進めていたが、他と差別化できる強烈な個性を持つ『ざうお』を展開しようと決断した。日本の『ざうお』での経験や知識が役立つこともあれば、全く異なることもあった。釣りをきっかけに、同店を日本食店と認識せずに来店する客も多いため、初めて日本食や日本酒を口にする人もいる。西洋料理のサイドメニューのようにご飯を要求する客もいて無料提供を開始した。多様な嗜好性、食事制限やアレルギーに対応するべく肉やベジタリアン料理も提供する。丸ごとの魚を食べ慣れない客には骨や皮を外してあげるなど、細かい要望にも丁寧に対応する。また、「フィッシュ・アテンダント」という他店にない職種に自信と喜びを感じられるよう教育をしているという。決裁権ある高橋氏本人が現場指揮を執っているため、柔軟性と行動力が抜群だ。


152 W 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 646-905-2274
5:00 pm to 10:30 pm (Last Order 10:00 pm) 7days week
#alljapannews #NY #ZAUO #sushi


Popular with fresh made Soba noodles

Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba...
By Keiko Fukuda

When a good Japanese restaurant opens, the news spreads very quickly in the Japanese community. A friend of mine who lives in Orange County told me, “A nice restaurant just opened. It is called Soba Izakaya Minami”. After that, I had a chance to have lunch with another friend who lives in Orange County, so I suggested the place. He said, “My wife said she has been there. She thought the food was good”. What a small world!

This place is located in the Laguna Hills Shopping Mall, about 45 minutes down south from where I live. Its interior provides a loft-like modern ambience, and does not look like a typical Izakaya. I visited toward the end of peak lunch hour; however, there were still several groups of customers enjoying meals. I ordered hot gobo tempura. To my surprise, the server told me that the price would be the same for any 100, 200, or 300g of soba. I thought 100g might not be enough, so I ordered 200g, which was just the right amount. If you really like to fill up, you should order 300g. This unique ordering system, and of course, the flavorful soba and crispy gobo tempura were also pretty impressive, and this place was added to my list of restaurants which I want to visit again.

On another day, I visited again to interview the owner, Ray Hattori. Mr. Hattori worked for Asahi Beer for a long time. He retired as the President of its American division. After that, he moved to Orange County, and started working as a restaurant business consultant. He explained to me that he thought he ought to have experience in running a restaurant himself, in order to call himself a consultant, and decided to launch this business by inviting in an enterprise which has been developing a large-scale restaurant chain in Japan as the partner. I asked him why a Soba restaurant, and he replied as follows:
“First of all, I wanted to have a restaurant of which Japanese people think “the taste is authentic”. Second of all, there are many various types of Japanese restaurants in Orange County, including a lot of ramen restaurants, but there are only a few soba restaurants.”

Before opening this soba restaurant, he worked as both a Lyft and Uber driver for the purpose of finding a good location, and market research. “I talked to the customers about where they were headed out to, and what they are looking for in a restaurant. By doing so, I was able to get some ideas,” said Mr. Hattori. In fact, people who use transportation services like Lyft to go to restaurants, often have drinking in mind.

Thus, Soba Izakaya Minami opened its doors in October of 2018. The reason for its open-feel, high-ceiling structure is that he wanted to give customers an image of a soba factory where freshly made soba is offered. In fact, they start the soba making machine after each order is placed. They really serve freshly made soba. They also serve udon dishes. You can take our udon, but not soba which is dine-in only. They are very particular about the freshness of soba, so you can only have soba in the restaurant.

When I made this report, it was about 6 months after the opening. Hattori-san then told me that he was already getting a good vibe. “I am so relieved to know that American customers don’t have much hesitation about soba, unlike what I had expected. Originally, I was aiming for the kind of taste that gives authenticity to Japanese, but as the result, half of our customers have become Americans. I am feeling unexpected happiness.”

Besides being a soba restaurant, they are also an izakaya at night. Because Mrs. Hattori is from Okinawa, they have a plan to gradually increase Okinawan cuisine in the menu. I am looking forward to that, too. Naturally, the beer brands they carry are Asahi, which Mr. Hattori worked for a long time, and Orion beer from Okinawa.



 その店は私が住むエリアから45 分ほど南下したラグナヒルズのショッピングモール内にあった。内装は蕎麦屋らしからぬロフト風のモダンな雰囲気。ランチのピークが終わった頃に入店したのだが、それでも数組の客が食事を楽しんでいた。私がオーダーしたのは温かいごぼう天蕎麦。驚いたのは、サーバーに「蕎麦は100g、200g、300g のどの量でも値段は一緒です」と教えられたこと。100g だとさすがに足りない気がして200 にしてみたが大正解だった。さらにお腹いっぱいになるまで蕎麦を味わいたいと思う人は300 にすれば良いだろう。このユニークなシステムと、そしてもちろん風味豊かな蕎麦とサクサクのごぼう天の印象は抜群で、「再び訪れたい店」の一つに加わった。



 こうして2018 年10 月に蕎麦居酒屋みなみを開店。天井が高い開放的な造りにしたのは、新鮮な蕎麦を提供している「蕎麦工場」のようなイメージを顧客に与えたかったからだそうだ。そして蕎麦は、オーダーが入ってから製麺機にかける、まさにフレッシュな打ち立てを出している。メニューにはうどんもある。ただし、テイクアウトはうどんも受け付けるが、新鮮さにこだわる蕎麦はダインイン限定にしている。



Soba Izakaya, Minami
24391 Avenida De La Carlota Suite A, Laguna Hills
(949) 215-5375

7 days open
#alljapannews #soba #izakaya #minami


  • ブログルメンバーの方は下記のページからログインをお願いいたします。
  • まだブログルのメンバーでない方は下記のページから登録をお願いいたします。
    現在 2/22 ページ
  1. <<
  2. <
  3. 1
  4. 2
  5. 3
  6. 4
  7. 5
  8. 6
  9. 7
  10. 8
  11. 9
  12. 10
  13. 11
  14. >
  15. >>