The Mt. Fuji Inn is saying goodbye to their customers. The restaurant will close on December 31st.
The restaurant is located at 72nd and Blondo. It’s a place that’s been an Omaha staple for decades and is family owned.
“I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old,” said Marilyn Kaya-Hespen. She is the chef and says she learned from the best, her dad.
Her parents originally opened a restaurant called the Grass Shack Café in 1947. In 1966 they switched locations and re-named it to the Mt. Fuji Inn. Now Kaya-Hespen and her sister, Jackie Shindo, run it.
“We’ve had families of generations upon generations that have been coming here for years,” said Shindo. Over the past few years things have changed. They say the restaurant used to be packed with people with a line out the door, but now they are seeing a lot less business and so they are forced to close the restaurant.
“What happened to Omaha. They’re forgetting about the people that started it and made it grow,” said Kaya-Hespen. “Things have moved west. Corporate businesses move in with backing money and we just can’t financially do it on our own anymore,” said Shindo.
It’s the combination of those reasons along with health issues in the family that led to their decision. They say it was a tough one to make, especially to say goodbye to their customers.
The restaurant will re-open for private parties only. The restaurant is also known for the Mai-Tai Lounge downstairs. The Mai-Tai Lounge will remain open.