Aoi Restaurant


Owner of Aoi Hiroko Yamagata came to Southern California in December of 1968. In 1976, with the aid of her sister Grace Maruyama, and without any previous business experience, Hiroko opened Aoi Restaurant, now a cherished establishment in historic Little Tokyo. One of the only woman-owned businesses in Little Tokyo, Hiroko Yamagata had "no fear" when opening up her resturaunt.

Slides in this album 

Hiroko Yamagata and Grace Maruyama, 2009

Hiroko and Grace outside of AOI Restaurant at 331 E. First St. The sisters have been running the business at this same location for 33 years.

Aoi Restaurant Picture 1
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Hiroko Yamagata behind the register, 2009

In Hiroshima, Hiroko Yamagata was a western dress maker. Her ambition was to come to America and make clothes but after ten years of working in a factory downtown she opened up the restaurant. After 33 years in business she has no regrets of giving up dressmaking.

Aoi Restaurant Picture 2
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Aoi Restaurant Interior, 2009

Mrs. Hiroko Yamagata had no reservations about opening the business in the 1970s as a woman. Still one of the only other female business owners in Little Tokyo she is proud to own such a successful restaurant.

Aoi Restaurant Interior
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Aoi Restaurant Interior, 2009

Distinctly Japanese art adorns the walls of the restaurant, reminding patrons of Hiroko Yamagata's heritage.

Aoi Restaurant Interior 2
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Aoi Restaurant Menu, 2009

The current Aoi Restaurant menu. The menu hasn't changed much but the clientele has changed dramatically, "for the better" says Grace.

Aoi Restaurant Menu
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Kitchen at Aoi Restaurant, 2009

The exterior part of the kitchen at Aoi in a rare moment of quiet between the lunch and dinner shifts.

AOI Kitchen
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Booths inside Aoi, 2009

The inviting atmosphere inside Aoi Restaurant. The comfortable red booths are usually filled with patrons from all walks of life.

Aoi Restaurant interior, 2009
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Wall Decoration , 2009

This wall is covered in beautiful calligraphy of Japanese characters.

Decorated walls of Aoi Restaurant, 2009
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Bento Box Served at Aoi, 2009

The traditional style Makunouchi bento box offered at Aoi. The braised eggplant dish in this bento is delicious!

Bento Box at Aoi Restaurant
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Aoi's Beef Sukiyaki, 2009

One of the Aoi favorites is the Beef sukiyaki. Also popular are the teriyaki dishes, udon bowls,and traditional bento box lunches.

Beef Sukiyaki at Aoi Restaurant, 2009
Contributed by: rbonaparte

Album Type

community history

rbonaparte — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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