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After only a year of business, Broadway’s Junkichi — and its robot — set to be offline for ‘several months’

We trust this robot — for now

The skewering of meats, open flame of the grill, and even the cute little robot have gone quiet — and nobody is answering the phones. Broadway’s Junkichi Robata Izakaya will be closed for “several months due to renovations” after only one year of business.

The curt message appeared on the restaurant’s website to start the month as the 200-block Broadway E robata grill concept has gone dark. Company representatives haven’t responded to repeated calls and messages about the closure.

The “several months” of closure for a new concept and a brand new restaurant space is an unusual move. Junkichi opened in May of 2018 replacing the departed Einstein Bagels chain from the block. The project is the latest investment from the U.S. subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Plenty, Inc. The company also operates the chain of Santouka ramen restaurants in the area. A call to the U Village location of the ramen joint revealed that it continues to operate.

Signs and messages about closures for renovation can frequently be cover for a business that is on its way to permanent shuttering but CHS hasn’t found the usual signs of a troubled business here like unpaid taxes or rents. But there are also no indications of significant construction work coming to the address. City records show no recent permitting activity for the site.

For now, we’ll take Junkichi and its AI customer service robot at its word and keep our eyes peeled for when this hopefully temporary hole in the Broadway dining scene is patched up and back in business.

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5 thoughts on “After only a year of business, Broadway’s Junkichi — and its robot — set to be offline for ‘several months’

  1. I’ve been there a few times when they first opened and more recently for my birthday. The very last time I went in was on August 31st to a totally empty restaurant and the owner greeted me with a stern “we’re reservation only!” (Which I attributed to the fact I was wearing my PAX video game badge from that day… Maybe he thought I was an annoying tourist.)

    I noticed the sign a few days later and it seemed fishy. But yeah, we’ll just have to take their word. My last experience there didn’t leave a good taste in my mouth (especially since I know they aren’t reservation only.)

    • They *did* seem very discouraging of spur-of-the-moment street traffic. I was always greeted at the door by “Do you have a reservation?” which made me reconsider my choice to eat there.

    • I used to work here the reason for the reservations only was because my manager was working the FOH all by himself. The last few weeks, knowing Junkichi was closing down, all the staff ending up quitting except me. Unfortunately I went to PAX as well so my manager had no one to work the FOH by himself and concluded they were only accepting reservations only as he couldn’t operate the restaurant by himself.
      For us though it didn’t matter because like you, it seemed like the community was not happy with us, as you can see from Yelp, the reviews has been declining and diners in Seattle think they’re all professional food critics and apparently Junkichi is not what Seattle wanted. We were happy to close our doors and leave Seattle behind. There will be a new restaurant opening operated by the same people who run Suika and Tamari Bar. Hopefully you guys will like that better.

  2. Every time I walk by its empty.

    Bad spot for a restaurant, the way the building is designed the space sits so far back from sidewalk you can barely see that its there.

    The bagel place went out of business there too.