Hideto Yanase, better known as Pancho, had to make a pretty difficult choice now that the pandemic has negatively impacted his business over the past year.
“It’s a really tough decision,” Yanase said. “We can’t afford the restaurant.”
He is the owner and chef of Tairyo Sushi and Kai restaurants located at the Blue Lagoon Plaza in Tumon.
On March 31, Tairyo Sushi will close its doors.
Kai Restaurant will cease operations by the end of April, but Yanase hopes to reopen Kai in a few months.
“We are sad, really sad. It is a situation that we have to adapt to in order to survive, ”he said of the closure of Tairyo Sushi.
Tairyo Sushi has been in business for almost 20 years. He said he took over the property after the previous owner returned to Japan.
He has also been running the Kai restaurant for 14 years.
“Before, I worked for the Nikko hotel. The company transferred me to Guam where I worked for 10 years. After 10 years, I decided to open my own business, ”he said.
Yanase recalled the good times when business was constantly busy.
“We were pretty good. We have a lot of local customers and everyone who comes to both restaurants. In particular, Tairyo’s rotating sushi is the unique style of local customers, so we had a lot of families and local young people who like to come to the restaurant, ”he said. “Sushi is very popular on this island.”
Since then, they’ve had to install plastic dividers between chefs and customers, and orders are now taken and served rather than customers having the option of grabbing plates that pass by their tables.
“The past year has been very difficult. Since COVID-19, everyone has had a hard time. It really affected the sushi restaurant. After the start of COVID, we stopped this service because even with the lid on the food, there are still concerns and customers don’t want to take it. It was really difficult, ”he said. “The occupancy limit really affected our little restaurant. “
Social distancing restrictions have also made it difficult for his business to stay open.
Yanase said they also had to cut down on their menu items as they couldn’t get the fresh seafood they would typically get twice a week from Japan.
The food is now either frozen or locally caught.
He said he was now ready to move forward in hopes of reopening and expanding Kai Restaurant in August in the same plaza, but on the former Tap House location, which has more than ‘space.
The plan is to also bring some of the favorite items that have been served at Tairyo.
“To make the food – I love it,” he said.
Yanase will also strive to keep its 20 employees on staff.
“I would like to tell customers that we will be closing in a few months,” he said. “We’re going to be opening a new restaurant, so come back and enjoy our food again. “