Bill Addison has a nice piece in Atlanta magazine on 14 new restaurants that he thinks are good, with Abbatoir leading the pack. It’s a good article and I recommend it. I had a somewhat different reaction to his claim that Shoya Izakaya was the first restaurant in Atlanta to “truly epitomize the Japanese izakaya model.” I say this because I recall a restaurant which I believed to be an izakaya in the strip mall behind Lenox Square, in roughly the same area where Hashiguchi Jr now lives. And at the time (late 1990s? early 2000s?), there were two Japanese restaurants in the strip mall, one serving sushi and udon (this one was either on the spot of Hashiguchi or was Hashiguchi), and the other seeming to be almost an annex of a larger Chinese restaurant, and so was easy to miss.
This second Japanese restaurant had no sushi, but did serve sashimi. Its entire menu was in Japanese, in strips on the wall. If you walked in, the two waitresses would greet you in falsetto and almost the whole of the clientele were hard drinking Japanese businessmen. There was one English menu, hand written, which English speaking patrons had to share. It was passed on as new English speaking groups would enter and be served. I recall having donburi there twice.
I don’t recall the name of this place. People with more disposable income than me say this restaurant moved, but I can’t prove that either. I’d love to know more about the place. It’s gone from the Lenox area for sure, and the Chinese restaurant beside it has disappeared as well. I suspect this restaurant has a more reliable claim to being the first izakaya in Atlanta.
If someone can remember the name of this place, help me track it down, I’d be delighted.