Sushi Taro may never look the same. The District’s most famous sushi bar, and one of only two in the city to win a Michelin star, shut down its takeout operation in Dupont Circle this weekend and pledged to make longterm changes in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak that has decimated the restaurant industry at large.
On Thursday, April 30, the bar announced on social media it would close “until further notice” on the following Sunday. Jin Yamazaki and chef Nobu Yamazaki, the brothers who own and operate the bar, tell Washington City Paper that they plan to take about two months off, then reopen exclusively for takeout, whether or not the city has lifted a dine-in ban that’s been in place since March 16 to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.
“The model that fits is take-out,” Jin Yamazaki tells WCP. “We’ve already adapted. We’re not going back.”
Sushi Taro routinely sold out of carryout orders under its current limitations, but the owners told WCP they felt they were “putting ourselves in danger” by keeping the restaurant open.
Founded by the brothers’ parents in 1986, Sushi Taro grew to become city’s most famous Japanese restaurant, drawing customers who wanted to splurge on its luxury omakase or wait in line for before opening time to get first dibs on a half-price sushi happy hour at the bar. In 2016, Sushi Taro was one of nine restaurants to win one Michelin star in the tire company’s inaugural D.C. guide. In the 2020 guide, Sushi Taro and Sushi Nakazawa were the only local Japanese restaurants to claim Michelin stars.