The title of this section says it all — there are lots of Japanese restaurants slated to open this year, and they’re mostly chains, but they sound like they might be worth some excitement. Here’s the rundown.
Fuji at High Street Place
The JP Fuji Group — which has Japanese restaurants in Quincy, Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston — will be a vendor at the forthcoming High Street Place food hall (see above), featuring some bestsellers from its existing locations as well as some new dishes. There will be drinks, too, including sake, whiskey, and beer. 100 High St., downtown Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: March 2020.
This one is actually more of a 2021 thing, so it’ll be a long wait, but this Japanese sushi chain plans to open in the forthcoming Arsenal Yards development (along with several other restaurants mentioned above and below). It will bring conveyor belts full of sushi — and small prizes for those who eat a lot of it. 485 Arsenal St., Watertown. Anticipated opening timeline: 2021.
This Japanese grocery store and deli will open in the Harvard Street space formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant and cafe Gen Sou En. Maruichi is based in West Hartford, Connecticut, where it sells Japanese groceries such as enoki mushrooms, Kewpie mayo, and more, along with prepared foods such as ramen, sushi, bento boxes, yakisoba, and bubble tea. Maruichi also operates a shop in Scarsdale, New York. 299 Harvard St., Coolidge Corner, Brookline. Anticipated opening timeline: February 7, 2020.
This New York City-based ramen chain is planning a Massachusetts expansion. Menya Jiro, which specializes in the ramen typical of Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture, will open inside the Crimson Galeria in Harvard Square. The restaurant has been described as the “Chipotle of ramen” because of its focus on build-your-own dining options. The shop serves ramen with a base made with tonkotsu and chicken broth and also offers spicy and vegetarian options. 57 JFK St., Harvard Square, Cambridge. Anticipated opening timeline: Winter/spring 2020.
This is part of the Hub Hall food hall (see above.) From Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, it will serve ramen (of course) but also sushi, bar snacks, and more, along with sake. It will be the only full-service, standalone restaurant within the confines of the food hall. 80 Causeway St., West End, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Early 2020.
This ramen shop will be the newborn sibling to Tora Japanese, a subterranean kaisen don gem in Chinatown. Owner Patrick Zhong plans to open at least two more restaurants in Boston under the Tora moniker; this Harrison Avenue joint appears to be the first. 99 Harrison Ave., Chinatown, Boston. Anticipated opening timeline: Unknown.
See There Are Still a Lot of Chicken Restaurants on the Way section above.
Tsurutontan [NOW OPEN]
A new addition to the small but mighty local scene of restaurants that focus on udon (see also: Yume Ga Arukara and Futago), Tsurutontan is now open inside the Hotel Commonwealth. This chain is rooted in Osaka, Japan, and has a dozen Japanese locations, but it’s only just getting its footing around the United States. In addition to udon, it serves sashimi, dumplings, and a little more. 500 Commonwealth Ave., Kenmore Square, Boston. Opened: January 24, 2020.