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Sam's celebrates 40 years, and still growing

Date Posted: 2010-12-23

Samís Anchor Inn is chalking up entry after entry in the record books, and isnít content yet!

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Samís Anchor Inn in Ginowan is the first in the Samís family of restaurants, the first and still largest Teppanyaki steak house not only in Okinawa, but in Japan, and holds a place in the Fodorís book of travel as ďone of the worldís finest restaurants. Samís restaurants were the first in Japan to have the gas torches outside the entrances, something thatís now adopted by restaurants across the nation to signify a Ďgood steak houseí. Oops! Almost forgot one: Samís Anchor Inn was the first to introduce tropical drinks to Japan.

Hard to believe itís been 40 years, but time flies when youíre serving some of the islandís most delectable foods. It all began on August 8th, 1970, with a soup pot. Not just any olí soup pot, but one that, when full, weighs about 350 pounds and can serve 640 customers. Samís Anchor Inn owners adopted the soup pot as the company theme--having searched for one without success in the major ports of Asiaóand cast their own, using metal from ships that plied the worldís waters. Today, all Samís restaurarnts serve East Indian Curry Soup from the big cast iron pots.

Samís Anchor Inn was first, then a second restaurant in Awase was added 36 years ago, then another, and another. Today there are eight, with five of them Teppanyaki restaurants. Kokusai Street in downtown Naha City is the focal point of Samís restaurants growth, with an army of chefs dicing, slicing and sizzling foods Ďyour wayí as Okinawa heads into the new year. Samís Anchor Inn is one of the very few that were founded before Japanese reversion in 1972.

American owned and operated, Samís restaurants have served princes, generals, admirals, sumo wrestlers, dukes and duchesses, presidents and vice presidents, astronauts, belly dancers, professional sports stars, prime ministers and a host of international celebrities. The Samís goal for the next celebrity to grace the doors of one of their restaurants: you. Upon entering Samís restaurants, take time to study the thousands of name cards, many dating back to the Vietnam era.

A good meal always begins with an alluring drink, and Samís began the tropical drinks custom, with fresh mint to top them off. At the start, the mint was smuggled into Okinawa from Hawaii, and then used to begin Okinawaís mint crop used in countless restaurants. Now, Samís invites customers with the notice ďFrom the Ports of Call of Asia, the Harbor Cities of America, to the romantic islands of Polynesia, we are proud to bring you the finesse of food, recipes, and exotic arts and crafts from the Pacific Rim.Ē

An evening at Samís goes beyond the food though; itís the atmosphere, the ambience, the music.

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