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Chicagoland’s Premier Japanese Market Adds Yakitori Restaurant’s First U.S. Location

Yakitori chain Toritetsu is opening its first independent location outside Japan

Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights adds Toritetsu as part of a massive facelift

Japanese food and cultural destination Mitsuwa Marketplace has completed the first major renovation to its market in the northwest suburbs and owners are introducing a new addition to the market’s popular food court at 100 E. Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights. The market’s makeover includes refurbished ceilings, walls, and lighting, as well as a refreshed seating area near the food court.

Mitsuwa [Official Photo]
The refreshed food court seating area.

Tokyo-based yakitori chain Toritetsu will open its only location outside of Japan (a Melbourne, Australia location closed last year; that restaurant was run with another company). The opening date will happen the second week of June, sometime before a bluefin tuna carving on June 15. A Japanese approach to chicken skewers, yakitori are typically grilled over a charcoal fire and seasoned with salt or a sweet, thickened soy sauce called tare. The online menu highlights chicken-based skewers including thigh, neck, heart, or gizzard, as well as skewers with beef, pork, vegetables, or pickled quail eggs. Diners can also expect Japanese beers, sake, shochu, and tapioca milk tea and lattes. The chain operates more than 70 locations across Japan.

The celebratory weekend’s events run from June 14-16, and include the tuna carving, a presentation from taiko drummers, and a performance by Ai Haruna, a Japanese transgender celebrity and entertainer.

Mitsuwa Marketplace [Official Photo]
J-Sweets’ mochi ice cream

Changes began prior to the unveiling, evidenced by the arrival of Japanese confectioner J-Sweets in November 2018, selling eye-catching delights including mochi ice cream and ikinari dango, steamed buns glazed with purple yams or sweet potatoes. It’s the chain’s 10th U.S. location and the first in the Midwest.

The California-based Mitsuwa Corporation runs 11 stores across the United States, and opened the Arlington Heights location in 1987. In addition to the food court, the building includes a grocery store, a bookstore stocked with manga and adorable stationary, a Japanese bakery, and a liquor shop. Grab-and-go spot Nagomi, which offers takoyaki, fried chicken, and bento boxes, will feature new sushi, grilled fish, and dessert options.

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