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International Japanese Restaurant Chain Takes Over East Village Eatery

By Serena Solomon | January 6, 2014 4:39pm

EAST VILLAGE — An international Japanese restaurant chain has snapped up the locally-owned East Village eatery Robataya, according to documents filed with Community Board 3.

OOTOYA, a global chain that already has outposts in Chelsea and Midtown, has taken over Robataya at 231 E. 9th St. between Second and Third avenues, which it plans to continue operating under the same name, according to liquor license documents posted online.

Nobuhito Tanaka, who runs OOTOYA's American operations, bought Robataya from owner Bon Yagi, an East Village restaurateur who has 10 other eateries in the area.

Yagi still owns several restaurants on or around East Ninth Street including Hasaki sushi at 210 E. Ninth St. and Sobaya noodle joint at 229 E. 9th St.

It was not immediately clear whether Tanaka would change Robataya's menu. Representatives from T.I.C Group and OOTOYA did not immediately return emails and phone calls for comment Monday.

OOTOYA locations have a menu that focuses on teishoku, a meal accompanied by numerous sides that is often served on a single tray. Robataya currently specializes in the Japanese style of grilling called robata.

Yagi's East Village-based company T.I.C. Group is also an authorized dealer of TOTO, a Japanese brand of toilets that double as bidets and can be operated by remote control.