Katana Will Close After 27 Years In Downtown W-B
WILKES-BARRE — Japanese restaurant Katana will close June 1 after 27 years in business in downtown Wilkes-Barre, one of the owners said Tuesday.
Teresa Ei, who owns the restaurant with her husband Takeshi Ei and partner Naoto Suzuki, said they are retiring.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. We’re going to miss our regular patrons,” Ei said. “It’s just time.”
They have been trying to sell the restaurant since 2016 and Ei said they had a few potential buyers but none followed through and it remains for sale. The restaurant has two hibachi rooms and two sushi rooms. Customers enjoyed many authentic one-of-a-kind Japanese food items, Ei said. Since the restaurant opened in 1992, it has expanded twice to accommodate increased volume.
The Eis, who live in Moscow, and Suzuki, who lives in Mountain Top, formerly leased their space at 41 S. Main St. in Midtown Village from Humford Equities. They have been leasing from Insalaco Development Group since it acquired Midtown Village from Humford Equities in 2014.
Twenty-two employees work at the restaurant, Ei said. Her husband is a chef with more than 45 years of experience with Japanese cuisine.
Sandy Insalaco Jr., partner with Insalaco Development Group, said the Katana was one of the first Japanese restaurants to open in Northeast Pennsylvania and he is sorry it will soon close.
He said he is actively working with new restaurant owners to open in that location and he would like to create a “food court type environment” in Midtown Village.
If the restaurant is sold, that would include the equipment, liquor license and other assets associated with the business.
John Maday, president of the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association, said Katana has had a “great run over all those years” and he also is sorry it will close.
It’s one of many ethnic restaurants in downtown Wilkes-Barre that led to its nickname “restaurant row.” Maday said Katana is in a great location and it would be a shame if a new owner didn’t take it over.
“They’ve become an institution in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” Maday said. “They were well-established. People were coming downtown to that business. They’ve been a great partner for downtown Wilkes-Barre.”
Ei’s message to the restaurant’s many loyal customers on Tuesday was, “Thank you for supporting us over the years and enjoying the products we put out.”
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