Yaletown Scores Japanese Grocery ‘Aburi To-Go’

Aburi To-Go quietly opened its doors in Yaletown today. Brought to us by the crew behind Aburi Restaurants (Miku, Minami and Gyoza Bar) the new Japanese-West Coast cuisine grocery is located next to Yaletown’s Minami Restaurant at 1112 Mainland Street.

The new shop features a mix of house-made take-home meals, imported beverages and pantry basics. We snuck a peek yesterday as the team was setting up for their soft launch.

Alan Ferrer (Executive Chef, Minami), Kazuya Matsuoka (Director of Operations); Dean Harrison (Marketing, Aburi); Hidekazu Kobatake (Aburi To-Go Team Lead)

Previously the Blue Ocean private dining room for Minami, the corner store-sized space has been transformed into a welcoming grocery complete with banks of freezers and refrigerated displays brimming with everything from grab-N-go creations and meal kits to Japanese imported fish, housemade ice creams and bake-at-home cookies.

A cooler stocked with beer, sake, iced tea and other cold drinks anchors the interior of the room, which is softly lit by the blue neon words ‘A Beautiful Wave’ (english translation of the word Minami). Along the rear wall are Japanese imported snacks, dry goods and sweets. Also taking up a prime shelving real estate is a tight selection of housemade bottled condiments and cooking sauces (Umami, Wasabi, Akadama Chili Paste, Chili Crunch Rayu Sauce, and Spicy Miso).

The Aburi group hints that this will be the first of many Aburi To-Go locations to come. Check out the official press release and a bunch of photos below…

Aburi Restaurants Canada is elevating the specialty grocery shopping experience with the launch of its first Aburi To-Go concept store. Located next to Minami Restaurant in Yaletown at 1112 Mainland Street, Aburi To-Go is a new, one-of-a-kind destination for Japanese-West Coast cuisine, offering chef-made, grab-N-go creations, house-made bottled condiments and grocery items, quality frozen offerings, family and individual meal kits, Japanese imported snacks, and more.

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced this past year, we continue to look and move forward by innovating and bringing new Aburi experiences to Canada,” explains Seigo Nakamura, Founder and CEO of Aburi Restaurants Canada. “I am proud of my dedicated team for bringing our Aburi To-Go vision to life; a place for people to pick up their favourite Aburi meals, housemade desserts, one-of-a-kind plate ware from Japan, and so much more. We hope this will be the first of many Aburi To-Go locations to come.”

The space, about 1,000 square foot, was previously Minami’s Blue Ocean private room, now transformed into a bright, welcoming space that combines Japanese artistic tradition with modern touches and separate street access. Hideki Kimura’s beautiful “Dancing Ise Lobsters” mural remains a focal point. In contrast, a locally-crafted neon sign “A Beautiful Wave” graces the wall – the English translation of “Minami” and namesake of Nakamura’s second daughter.

Shoppers will find an array of different offerings available at Aburi To-Go in one convenient location, from frozen sashimi-grade seafood to house-made sauces and dressings. Other notable items include:

● Ready-To-Eat: Made in-house daily by Aburi Restaurant chefs, Ready-to-Eat items are convenient grab-N-go packaged meals, such as salads, souzai tapas, Japanese bento, sushi rolls, and sando (Japanese-style sandwiches).

● Frozen Meal Kits: Finish-to-eat meal kits come frozen with instructions to simply heat, assemble, and enjoy. Examples include house-made ramen kits, a miso-baked salmon meal kit, and Japanese chicken curry kits.

● Pastries and Confections: Crafted in-house by Aburi’s talented pastry chef Nikki Tam, items include house-churned ice cream and sorbets, castella cakes, panna cotta, and Aburi’s signature Green Tea Opera cake.

● House-made Condiments: Japanese sauces for the home, including Akadama Chili Paste, Chili Crunch Rayu Sauce, and Spicy Miso.

Aburi To-Go follows Aburi Restaurants Canada’s guiding Ningenmi philosophy and has hired seasoned grocery and seafood veteran Hidekazu Kobatake to lead the Aburi To-Go team of product specialists.

“I’ve been in the foodservice industry for many years, ever since my childhood in Japan,” says Kobatake, who ran his own successful take-out sushi restaurant for 17 years, in addition to leading Whole Foods’ seafood department at one point in his career. “I am very excited to join the Aburi family and firmly believe in its commitment to Ningenmi. We aim to provide the highest level of sincere, warm service to all our shoppers and look forward to introducing people to Aburi To-Go.”

Aburi To-Go officially opens on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Guests can also soon shop online for curbside pick-up or delivery via UberEats in the coming weeks.

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