Mr Sato gets in line for a taste of pie, but as always, things don’t go as planned.

On 14 June, Japanese confectionary company Imuraya announced it would be closing its very last branch of Anna Miller’s, the Hawaiian-born American-style cafe that’s as famous for its maid outfits as it is for its pies.

During its 40-year history in Japan, Anna Miller’s grew to 25 different locations around Japan. However, by the end of summer it will be no more, as the shopping centre where the final branch is located will be demolished as part of the Shinagawa Station West Exit Infrastructure Development Project, and Imuraya has no current plans to relocate the business. 

The news came as a shock to fans of the cafe, and our own reporter Mr Sato, who’d never eaten there before and now had an insatiable desire to visit before it closes. Figuring there was no time like the present, Mr Sato popped by the day after the closure announcement was made, and it immediately became apparent that he wasn’t the only one wanting to visit before it disappears, because when he arrived, there was a huuuuge line of people waiting to get in.

▼ Sure, Anna Miller’s is popular, but it’s never been this popular.

Our Mr Sato has no fear of a long line in Japan — he’s been known to wait in line for days to be the first to get the latest iPhone — so he got in the queue at around 12:45 p.m. and waited patiently for his turn to be seated.

▼ This was a prime opportunity to show us all his Gucci watch.

As he inched closer to the front door, Mr Sato began dreaming of the famous Anna Miller’s pies he’d long heard about. Would he order an apple pie for starters? And a cherry pie for dessert? His stomach rumbled and he began to salivate, à la Homer Simpson, as visions of pies danced in his head.

▼ One hour later, and Mr Sato was almost in.

With the interior of the cafe now in sight, Mr Sato suddenly saw the staff spring to action, causing a bit of a commotion by the display cabinet as they hurriedly put up a handwritten sign that read:

“Pies will be on sale from 5:00 p.m. for takeout and eat-in.”

▼ Nooooooooooo!

Mr Sato’s dreams of pie were dashed in an instant, and he now felt a pinch of regret that he hadn’t arrived at the cafe earlier. Still, he’d come this far, and he wasn’t about to give up his place in line after an hour and a half of waiting.

At 2:20 p.m., Mr Sato was finally seated inside the cafe, and luckily for him he was able to snare a seat by the window. He may not have had pie to look forward to but he did have a great view of Shinagawa Station in front of him, so he would be able to people-watch as he enjoyed his meal.

▼ What would he eat, though?

There were sandwiches, salads, pasta, pancakes, and a tasty looking Loco Moco on the menu, along with some meatier options like steaks and burgers.

All that waiting in line had made Mr Sato hungry, so he decided to order a Small Garden Salad for 450 yen (US$3.38), along with a Dutch Burger, containing bacon and melted cheese, for 1,260 yen. Then, in an attempt to fill the pie-shaped hole in his heart, Mr Sato ordered California Pancakes (1,100 yen) for dessert.

▼ First up, though, he ordered a coffee (400 yen), which comes with free refills.

Anna Miller’s is serious about refills, as staff continually came around offering to top up his coffee, which made Mr Sato feel like he was in a real American cafe. Never one to refuse a good deal, Mr Sato kept saying yes to those refills, so he was buzzing by the time his starter arrived.

The garden salad came with black olives and fresh mushrooms, which Mr Sato thought was a nice touch. It was fresh and homely, but he would need more than a salad to stop his stomach from rumbling, and that’s when his main meal arrived.

This was a giant burger of American proportions — it was much bigger than the kinds you get at family restaurants, which is what Mr Sato was expecting. It had a home-cooked feel to it, with beautifully made wholewheat buns, which made it taste healthier than other beef burgers he’s had in the past.

The burger tasted great, and it didn’t take long for Mr Sato to polish it off, making way for his dessert of California Pancakes, which he’d ordered with ice cream and whipped cream on the side for an additional 300 yen.

▼ How gorgeous is this?

These beautiful pancakes swept any lingering desire for pie far from Mr Sato’s mind, and as he cut into them, he was amazed to find…

▼…there were strawberries inside!

That attention to detail got a big tick of approval from our discerning dessert lover, and the texture was so soft every bite of pancake melted on his tongue, making them incredibly easy to eat.

As he finished his last bite, Mr Sato restrained himself from licking the plate, and that’s when those thoughts of pie returned to his mind. If Anna Miller’s pancakes are this good, imagine how amazing their pies must be?

With his desire to taste an Anna Miller’s pie now rising in his belly, Mr Sato scrolled through his phone to find out the exact day Anna Miller’s would be closing. Given the huge line of people outside when he visited, he figured the closing date must be just around the corner, but as it turns out, the last day of business is actually 31 August.

As he pondered on whether to return before then for a slice of pie, Mr Sato discovered that while the cafe itself will be closing at the end of August, the Anna Miller’s online store will continue to operate after the cafe closes its doors.

Online sales are temporarily suspended at the moment, though, likely due to the influx of interest after news of the upcoming closure spread throughout Japan, so if you’d like a taste of pie, be sure to check the online store for updates.

As for Mr Sato, he might just have to return to the cafe soon to make sure he can fill that pie-shaped hole in his heart, because he’s still not over the loss of Imuraya’s apple pie ice cream bar.

Photos © SoraNews24
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