Restaurants come and go in downtown Menlo Park. One has endured. Over two decades ago, Toshio Akabori opened Tokyo Subway at 605 Santa Cruz Avenue. His secret to success?
“When I see my customers, I know what they want to eat,” he says.
The owner/chef’s open kitchen makes that possible. “I talk to my customers directly,” he says. “I learn what they like and can offer suggestions to them about menu items they haven’t tasted.”
At lunch Toshio is assisted by his wife, Sakiko. He says he dreamed of opening a restaurant ever since graduating from high school in Japan. He landed in Menlo Park 25 years ago when space near El Camino Real – then a coffee shop – opened up for rent. “The minute I saw it I thought it was right for me,” he says. “It was perfect – I always wanted an open kitchen.”
Toshio offers a wide variety of Japanese fare, including sushi, teriyaki, tempura, noodle soup and rice bowls. Tokyo Subway serves lunch weekdays and dinner nightly.