Yes, you can get beef bowls, but there’re also desserts, unlimited coffee refills, and everything mobile workers and students need.

On most days, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji can be found clacking away on his keyboard at SoraNews24 headquarters. However, while our offices are conveniently located right in the middle of downtown Tokyo, sometimes it’s not the easiest place to get work done, since you never know when someone is going to be measuring the sound of their pooping noises, fighting a wrestling match, building a cardboard toilet, or walking around shirtless to impress Hello Kitty mere feet from your work desk.

▼ Just a series of ordinary days in the office.

So Seiji, looking for a more peaceful and stylish place to do some writing, decided to grab his laptop and head for one of Tokyo’s cafes. But he didn’t end up at Starbucks or any of its coffeehouse rivals, but instead at Yoshinoya.

You might be scratching your head about now. Sure, Yoshinoya is Japan’s favorite provider of gydon/beef bowls (in restaurant-fresh, canned, and frozen varieties), but it owes part of its success to its simple, no-frills dining experience. Its interiors are more utilitarian than luxurious, and while they’re comfortable enough for the few minutes you’ll spend shoveling rice and beef into your mouth, they’re not exactly designed for lingering…at least not usually.

This Yoshinoya branch, though, located near Tokyo’s Oimachi Station, is different. With large glassy windows to let in natural sunlight, a sophisticated interior with wood accents, and even leafy green plants, this Yoshinoya has a calm and inviting atmosphere, so much so that you’d be hard-pressed to tell it’s a Yoshinoya unless you spotted the understated company logo on the back wall mirror.

▼ Sofa seating? Cushions? In a Yoshinoya?

The menu, however, still contains Yoshinoya classics like beef bowls and curry plates.

There are a few special items as well, plus one service that’s exactly the sort of thing mobile workers and studying students always appreciate: an unlimited-refill self-serve drink station, and for just 160 yen (US$1.50).

Hot and cold drinks are available, and Seiji poured himself a coffee to sip as he waited for his food, knowing that he could go back and help himself to a cafe mocha or some hot cocoa as soon as his cup was empty.

▼ Sadly, Yoshinoya’s all-you-can-drink cocktail service is not offered here.

But remember, Seiji wasn’t here just to eat and drink, but to work, which was no problem since this Yoshinoya has both free Wi-Fi and power outlets (both conventional plug and USB) at its counter seats.

While he could have gone with a standard beef bowl, Seiji instead opted for one of the fancy Yoshinoya’s special items: the 490-yen Cheese, Bacon, and Egg Beef Bowl.

Comfortable and fed, Seiji was in no hurry to leave, so he poured himself another drink and kept writing. Eventually, though, he gave in to the temptation to order a 110-yen slice of chocolate cake, since you can’t get such desserts at regular Yoshinoyas.

Then he gave into temptation again and ordered a slice of strawberry cake to go with it.

This style of fancy Yoshinoya, designated Yoshinoya C&C (for “Cooking & Comfort), is a gradually expanding sub-section of the chain with 46 locations nationwide, and four in Tokyo (Oimachi, Ebisu, Waseda, and Oyama branches), so Seiji’s now got multiple escape options the next time something crazy is going on in the office.

Restaurant information
Yoshinoya (Oimachi Nishiguchi branch) / 吉野家(大井町西口店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku
Open 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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