Tempe, AZ

Japanese Street Food Restaurant Has Finally Opened

Greyson F

A new Japanese street food restaurant has opened.Photo byPesce HuangonUnsplash

When it comes to street food, few regions in the world can compete with Japan. Street food in Japan is on an entirely different level, and due to many households in major metro cities possessing very little cooking space, it is often easier for many locals in cities like Tokyo to eat out at street vendors than to try and prepare food in their own small spaces. Visitors to Japan have taken notice, which has helped spread word of the culinary style. Chefs and former residents of Japan have brought these food styles all around the globe, and now, a new restaurant here in metro Phoenix that specializes in Japanese street food has opened. 

Located at 699 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, Matsuri Izakaya on Mill is a dedication to all things Japanese street food. Sure, you’ll find some sushi rolls here, but it is so much more than that. You’ll also find Japanese BBQ, various forms of ramen, not to mention Japanese beer to help wash it all down. 

The restaurant has a nice outdoor eating area, where guests can enjoy the paper lanterns hanging around the storefront while they alternate between gulps of hot soup and cold beer. A full menu is not yet available online, although when stopping by Matsuri Izakaya on Mill one is available for visitors to check out.

While the restaurant is all street food, it is currently being marketed as a tapas bar, which is an interesting choice of Spanish cuisine words when used in reference to a Japanese restaurant (in case you’re wondering, there isn’t any Spanish influence on the menu itself, just the marketing). 

This restaurant has been a long time coming. It was originally announced back in 2022 and scheduled for an August launch for the same address. For reasons that were not disclosed, the eventual opening of the restaurant was delayed nearly eight months. Whatever the reason might be, visitors to this area in Tempe will be happy to see something finally available for business. The last tenant, La Bocca Urban Pizzeria and Wine Bar, has been closed since June 2020, so there has been a nearly three-year gap in restaurants. 

The hours of operation are, at best, a little fuzzy at Matsuri Izakaya on Mill. The official times are not posted on Matsuri’s Instagram page (which is its only Internet presence currently). The hours of operation, as posted in their comments, are from noon until 8 PM, although they “may be open from the evenings” during the weekends. Hopefully, more concrete hours of operation will be made available soon. 

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