09/01/23 Small Business Spotlight- Suehiro
Terasaki Budokan has a regular “Small Business Spotlight” series, where we feature local Little Tokyo businesses that are connected to us and Little Tokyo Service Center (the nonprofit Budokan is a project of). We hope these pieces inspire you to support some of the many amazing businesses here!
Suehiro Cafe is a small business in Little Tokyo that has been around for over fifty years and was created by two sisters from Japan, Junko and Yuriko. Junko’s son, Kenji, now runs Suehiro to continue the legacy. Kenji joined Little Tokyo Service Center‘s Small Business Program in 2018 with the hopes of expanding, which came to fruition with the Chinatown takeout location. Despite surviving the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, Suehiro is now being pushed out of Little Tokyo by rising rent and gentrification. While Suehiro leaves Little Tokyo’s geographic bounds, they remain an LTSC client and an integral part of the community. In fact, they’re exactly the type of business LTSC envisions as a commercial tenant in their upcoming First Street North project.
Kenji and the Suehiro team have been promoting their move with the help of LTSC’s “Small Biz Squad.” The original plan was to close down their historic Little Tokyo location on October 1st, but with the help of their legal team, they were able to push back the inevitable for at least another month. In Suehiro’s newsletter announcing the delay in moving, Kenji said, “As we continue to push forward with Suehiro DTLA, keeping Suehiro Cafe open another month means we will not have to lay anyone off yet.”
When we met up with Kenji to learn more about their transition, he said, “We’ve been receiving a lot of generous support from people in the community. With this new location, we would like to see everybody come in and have our food here.” Their new location will feature classic favorites from their original menu, as well as new items. As the new Suehiro location is even closer to Budokan (about a five-minute walk), we encourage all of our visitors to support this new location on Fourth and Main!
“Little Tokyo is Suehiro in my eyes. Suehiro could not have survived without Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo…means a lot to me. My heart belongs in Little Tokyo, and I think the heart of Suehiro will always be part of Little Tokyo.”
Kenji is optimistic about Suehiro’s situation, but wants to, “encourage everybody to support your local legacy businesses in Little Tokyo.” Suehiro’s new DTLA location is open during their test kitchen phase everyday from 5:30pm-10pm, and their grand opening is slated for November 1st. Suehiro is a Little Tokyo legacy that will be missed on First Street, but we are so happy that they are pushing forward.
Visit the original location while it’s still here and support the new location! To see our video version of this interview, check out our Instagram Reel! To learn more about LTSC’s Small Business Program, click this link!
To find out more about Budokan’s programming, check out our website where you can browse our diverse collection of activities, events and programs. Whether you want to try our all-ages Taiko class or youth basketball academy, Budokan has everything you need to stay active and connected. We look forward to seeing you soon!