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Popular northern restaurant closes after five decades

Date Posted: 2007-10-12

When Yuki-san first opened her restaurant in Higashi Village in northern Okinawa more than 50 years ago, Okinawa soba was 50c on her menu.

Located on Route 70, next to Kawata Grocery Store, Yuki Restaurant was the first and only restaurant in the village when she started. Yuki served up home style Okinawa foods that both Okinawans and Americans stationed here fell in love with. Miso soup, Yakisoba, Okinawa soba and chanpuru were staples in her restaurant, first named Higashi Shokudo.

The sign in English, drawn up by an American customer, read Yuki’s Restaurant, and it stuck. Having lived in America, Yuki spoke English well, and even had the restaurant approved by the military, receiving the coveted “A” sign, a symbol the place was safe for Americans to patronize. Okinawans loved her too, making the restaurant the center of attraction for parties. Americans called her mom, and her Higashi Village clientele considered her a major player in village activity.

Higashi Village is best known to the world as home to Okinawan golf sensation Ai Miyazato. Yuki-san runs a close second, and now she’s closed a long running love affair with her village.

Now 83, Yuki-san has closed her restaurant citing her age and a desire to enjoy retirement. Yuki Restaurant has only been closed since September 30th, but she’s being missed already.

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