The famous beef bowl chain is taking a swanky step outside the box with bold offerings including electricity, coffee, and a modicum of privacy.

This new Yoshinoya location opened near JR Ebisu Station in Tokyo on 11 March. It isn’t a new store in the strictest sense of the word, since it’s just a renovation of an existing shop, but after taking one step inside, our reporter P.K. Sanjun quickly realized that this was a Yoshinoya like no other.

For those unfamiliar with Yoshinoya in Japan, it’s a place that sells undeniably tasty, fast, and cheap servings of beef on rice along with other Japanese staples like fish and miso soup. It’s a savior to the cash-strapped and hungry salarymen of the nation, but upon entering one — especially in the late evening — the sense of malaise is palpable. They make Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks look like a Chuck E Cheese’s.

But not so with the Ebisu Yoshinoya! Thanks to some fundamental design choices, like plants, the mood is completely different from any of its contemporaries. Furthermore, they removed the standard serpentine counter that stretches across the entire dining area. Previously you could both order directly from this counter and stare at the guy across from you as you wonder what went wrong in his life.

▼ You can tell Yoshinoya is a little new at the whole decorative plant thing, as they can be seen jutting out of the wall in several random spots.

Now, there are semi-discrete counters facing either a wall or potted plant. While this greatly diminishes your ability to gawk at people, they make up for it by providing electrical outlets for your laptop or electric toothbrush.

Yoshinoya’s transparency was not completely lost, however. At this store, the formerly clandestine cooking area where slices of beef mingle with buckets of sauce in large pressure cookers is now open concept.

In this way, customers don’t order directly from their seat but rather from the counter. The usual tea, water, and pickled ginger are also available from a serving station as well.

Not only that but this Yoshinoya also offers self-serve coffee for 150 yen (US$1.40)!

Yes, sir, this Yoshinoya doesn’t just rival Japan’s finest low-to-mid-range coffee shop chains in appearance — it actually has the same generic coffee as well!

Now you might be worried that with all this lavishness Yoshinoya might forego their standard dishes for something like Filet Mignon or Cornish game hens, but you can put your fears to rest. This elite establishment has all the same items as the Yoshinoya you’ve come to know and love.

If all this weren’t enough, the Ebisu Yoshinoya has one more thing that other branches do not: women customers. And we don’t mean the one’s who were dragged there by their boyfriends or ducking in for a takeout order before anyone spots them. As far as, P.K. could tell, the ladies in there had come of their own free will and even stayed there for a while.

Indeed, with its plants, coffee, and female customers, this is truly the grandest Yoshinoya ever. If you happen to be in the area please stop by. Just be careful you don’t mistake it for an elegant car wash waiting room.

Yoshinoya Ebisu Station Shop
1-9-6 Ebisunishi, Shibuya, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区恵比寿西1-9-6Open 7 days a week: 5:00 am to 1:00 am

Source: Yoshinoya (Japanese)
Original article by P.K. Sanjun
Photos: RocketNews24

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