Owner Miyoko Omori came to America from Saitama, Japan, in 1970. She waited tables at Fuji Ya in Minneapolis for seven years until she and her then-husband opened Kikugawa, also in Minneapolis, in 1979.
In 1990, Miyoko was determined to open her own restaurant. She left Kikugawa with only her last paycheck. Her enthusiasm alone convinced the owner of Galtier Plaza in Saint Paul to rent her a space and loan her startup money. Miyoko named her new restaurant Sakura, Japanese for “Cherry blossom,” because she was born in April, the time when the cherry trees bloom in Japan.
Miyoko proved Sakura was a winning business venture. After five successful years in Galtier, Sakura moved to its 6th and St. Peter location. When that building was demolished less than two years later, Miyoko had to find a new home for Sakura. On February 12, 1997, Miyoko signed a 10-year lease for Sakura’s present location at 350 St. Peter Street.
Miyoko credits her customers help and support for Sakur’s on-going success. Friends have followed her from as far back as Fuji Ya. She’s watched children grow up coming to Sakura. Those children have gone on to have children of their own, all of whom come in to eat at Miyoko’s restaurant. She thinks of Sakura as her living room and her customers as guests.
“I want to thank every person who comes through this door,” says Miyoko. “You’re like my extended family.”
Sakura was voted 1998 Restaurant Critics’ Choice for Japanese food in Minneapolis, St. Paul Magazine. Miyoko promises Sakura will continue to serve delicious eat-in, carryout and catered meals well into the future. Don’t forget to ask about parking validation. Enjoy your meal !
– By Beirut Thorkeson