South Gaylord Street has seen a lot of restaurants come and go, but Restaurant Japon is a stalwart, not just on South Gaylord, but in the Denver dining scene, standing court in the middle of Washington Park's most bustling block for eighteen years, a feat for any restaurant. But on Halloween, Restaurant Japon will go dark.
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"We've had eighteen great years serving our loyal customers, many of whom have become close friends," says owner Miki Hashimoto, stressing that while Japon may be closing, he's not finished with the restaurant business. "I have some great new ideas and concepts that I'm exploring that Denver hasn't seen," he reveals, adding that his next concept, which he'll unveil in a new location, will open in early summer of next year.
Prior to opening Japon, Hashimoto was notorious for "disappearing" to work with master chefs in restaurants in Denver, Aspen and Breckenridge, notes Tom Polich, a longtime friend and business adviser to Hashimoto. "I'd have to ask around for signs of his appearance at a new location and then chide him for leaving without notice. I love his personality and his food. It's the best sushi I've ever had, and I've lived in a dozen states," declares Polich.
"I'll stay in touch, and I encourage everyone to go to Japon's website for updates, or send me a note," says Hashimoto, adding that the new owners of the South Gaylord space will "likely reopen as an Asian concept in the spring of 2014."
In the meantime, Japon is featuring specials during the rest of the month, including a deep-fried Korean oyster starter for $5, as well as an albacore tuna special with a trio of dipping sauces. Get them now, while they last.