Seattle’s oldest Japanese restaurant prepares to welcome diners again after winning makeover contest


Maneki has been in business for 116 years. Sponsored by Puget Sound Energy

SEATTLE – Maneki is one of four winners of the evening small business energy efficiency makeover competition sponsored by Puget Sound Energy.

The word “iconic” is used a lot these days, but in Seattle’s international Chinatown district, iconic is exactly the word most people use to describe Maneki.

“People claim Maneki is the oldest Japanese restaurant on the West Coast. We don’t claim it because I don’t have any written evidence. But we’re 116 this year,” owner Jean Nakayama said.

Maneki never had a year like 2020. Dining inside stopped in March of last year and they relied on take out just to stay afloat.

Great news came when Jean learned that Maneki had won a $ 45,000 energy retrofit from Puget Sound Energy – and it was their clients who nominated them.

“It’s upsetting every time I think about it. It brings tears to my eyes because they all support me.”

Before work begins, PSE’s small business energy efficiency team researches areas where they can help.

“There are many energy efficiency opportunities with Maneki,” said Sarah Cann of PSE. “When we go inside, we’ll look at all of their energy use. Like lighting and refrigeration and all their kitchen equipment. We’re going to take a look at their heating system and their water heating system and see if they need any upgrades. “

So, while their indoor dining room is closed, the restaurant is occupied by workers who install the latest energy-efficient equipment and update Maneki’s overall appearance.

After months of work, the job was finally done.

“Here at Maneki, we’ve done a lot to improve her energy efficiency in her restaurant. In the kitchen, she has two brand new fryers. A brand new ENERGY STAR refrigerator that’s going to save you money compared to a standard base We have also replaced the water heater with a high efficiency heat pump water heater, “Sarah explained. To increase the safety of the space, we have included a MERV 13 air filter and heat pump system. UVC light disinfection. “

“There are many different spaces that all require different types of lighting. We made other lighting in the bar area. “

They also re-lit the famous tatami rooms in Maneki.

“I can actually turn the lights down so it’s a really big surprise,” Jean said happily.

Some of the cosmetic upgrades include a new way to display their collection of Maneki cats.

“They were able to put these shelves, these narrow shelves in the dining room so that the cats could be displayed.”

And when customers enter, they will be greeted by a new wall documenting the restaurant’s rich past.

“PSE has done a really good job of helping us keep all of the vibe or the whole way of Maneki, but bringing us to the next generation now.”

Learn more about Puget Sound Energy’s Small Business Energy Efficiency Program on their website.

The Small Business Energy Efficiency Transformation Competition is sponsored by Puget Sound Energy. The evening of KING 5 celebrates the North West. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.


Comments are closed.