Monday, September 28, 2009

Chaya Restaurant turns 390

As CHAYA Brasserie celebrates 25 years in Beverly Hills, it honors an unprecedented history of restaurants owned and operated by the same family both in Japan and California for 390 years. To mark the occasion, CHAYA Brasserie is launching a new menu, a new charity partnership and a month-long anniversary campaign in October.

Centuries before arriving in the U.S., the Tsunoda family began offering tea, sweets, and respite for weary horseback travelers, under an enormous shade tree in Hayama, Japan. Eventually, the Tsunoda family opened a small inn, called Hikage Chaya (the little tea house in the shade) and their tradition of hospitality extended hundreds of years. Hikage Chaya was renovated into a traditional Japanese restaurant which is still opened today, along with La Marée de Chaya, which serves French cuisine. In the early 80s, the family brought cuisine with a French Japanese sensibility, to California.

“When we came from Japan to the U.S., everything was different,” said Yuji Tsunoda, president of CHAYA Restaurant Group. “But, everyone is a human being and hospitality is the same everywhere, from Japan, to London, to Los Angeles and good food is a universal language.”

Within the past quarter of a century, the family successfully opened restaurants in Los Feliz, Beverly Hills, Venice, San Francisco, and Downtown Los Angeles. This year, the family is celebrating the 1984 opening of CHAYA Brasserie, known for celebrity regulars and awards show parties over the years.

(Re) Discover CHAYA

Famous for 25+ years of serving imaginative, French Japanese food, Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe has commanded the menus and the kitchens of California CHAYA restaurants since the early 80s. Now, nationally-acclaimed Chef Tachibe, who invented Tuna Tartare, has created a new menu, featuring fresh, innovative offerings and familiar CHAYA classics. From its infamous Seaweed Salad and CHAYA Rib Eye, to Pork and Duck Rillettes, Braised Lamb Osso Bucco, and Bacon wrapped Monk Fish, the new menu offers a unique blend of French Japanese cuisine. As a tribute to the very first California restaurant the CHAYA family opened in 1982 in Los Feliz, the new bar menu bears its name “La Petite Chaya” and features small plates, sushi and dessert.

In conjunction with the anniversary, guests of CHAYA Brasserie can enjoy the launch of an art retrospective campaign. The first installment is a tribute to its signature food fair and event posters through the years, as well as art collected by the Tsunoda family from around the world. CHAYA plans to regularly refresh its art pieces and host exhibits through gallery partnerships in 2010 and beyond.

During the entire month of October, CHAYA restaurant group will offer its customers at all three Los Angeles’ locations a $25.00 dinner prix-fixe and will serve special anniversary-edition wines by the glass (Chardonnay and Sangovese, Au Bon Climat Winery). CHAYA Brasserie will host a celebration on Sunday, October 25, with a percentage of $25.00 ticket proceeds benefiting its new charity partner, C-CAP. Go to for ticket information.

Supporting Culinary Arts Education

CHAYA is kicking off a year-long partnership with Careers through Culinary Arts Programs (C-CAP) to help underserved high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in culinary arts, get the education they deserve.

To keep the C-CAP program from being cut from the 2009-2010 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) curriculum, CHAYA is adopting Hollywood, West Adams and Westchester high schools, providing financial support and hands-on training for the students. Each executive chef plans to guest teach a class during the school year and arrange for the students to visit CHAYA restaurants to job shadow.

CHAYA’s Executive Chef, Shigefumi Tachibe will kick off the program by paying a visit to the culinary arts classroom at Hollywood High school on September 24 to meet the students; serve his renowned tuna tartare, which he invented in 1984; and issue a recipe challenge for the fall semester.


With an unprecedented 390-year history of restaurants owned and operated by the same Tsunoda family both in Japan and California, CHAYA began under an enormous shade tree in Hayama, Japan, centuries ago, where they offered tea, sweets and respite to weary horseback travelers. Today, there are two locations in Japan (Hikage Chaya and La Marée de Chaya) and four locations in California (Beverly Hills, Venice, Downtown LA, and San Francisco). Famous for serving imaginative, French Japanese cuisine and for a tradition of unmatched hospitality, the company is celebrating the 25th anniversary of CHAYA Brasserie, Beverly Hills in October 2009.

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