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"Sometime" is never enough time at restaurant chain

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-09-18

As the catchphrase of the advertisement for the Apple computer company says, people who succeed in business seem to have unique ideas. Setsuko Shinzato, owner of the restaurant and coffee house “Sometime,” is certainly no exception. When Shinzato opened the first "Sometime" restaurant in Kitanakagusuku Village 13 years ago, she was told it wouldn't last long because of the unlikely location.

"Every person I talked to advised me that it was not a good idea to open a restaurant there. Now there are other eateries around here, but there were no stores or eateries and nothing in this area when we first opened the restaurant" Shinzato said, looking back on the old days.

The kind advice of her friends turned out to be just a case of nervous anxiety. The restaurant has stayed in the same location, located near Nippon Bridal Center for over a decade, and furthermore, its success spawned two branches.

But why is Shinzato’s business so successful when others have fallen by the wayside?

The answer can be found within the restaurant itself. Instead of the most common method of seating, Shinzato broke the mold and used sofas and dining tables to ensure a more homely and user-friendly atmosphere. (Beautiful ikebana emit a sweet fragrance as soft oriental ceramic lighting adds a powerful reminder to a truly unique dining experience.)

On my first visit to "Sometime" in Kitanakagusuku Village, I followed Shinzato's recommendation and sampled the “Healthy Dish" (¥1000), one that she is so proud of, and one the restaurant’s most popular dishes. There were several varieties of traditional Japanese and Okinawan dishes with Miso soup, rice, and fruits.

The meal I ate was well-seasoned and I could tell that the chef devoted a lot of time and effort to the dish.

For my second visit, I chose the Chatan branch near the Sunabe sea wall. The dining room was smaller than the one in Kitanakagusuku and it was more like a coffee shop than a restaurant, yet its atmosphere was the same.

I wanted to try something a little weightier this time, so I ordered a Hamburger Steak (¥1300), which I was to discover, much to my delight I might add, was covered in a thick brown sauce with sliced onion and mushrooms, and delivered to my table with consommé soup, salad, and rice. It was well-done and tasted just delicious.

A variety of coffees, including blue mountain and mocha, are also on offer. More than 20 kinds of home-cooked cakes at ¥350 each and scones can be consumed and any of the choices go well with a cup of coffee. Business hours are from 10 a.m. -1 a.m. (Kitanakagusuku and Chatan branch) and 10 a.m. - midnight at the Korinza branch, which by the way is closed on the third Monday of each month.

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