The sun is setting on Star Kebab’s chapter in Akiba food history.

It’s not all that much of an exaggeration to say that serious otaku draw their life force from their love of anime. But even the hardest of hardcore fans can’t pull nutritional sustenance out of their favorite series or cool character goods, which is why the Akihabara neighborhood, Tokyo’s otaku mecca, has an array of filling, inexpensive, and tasty dining options.

Sadly, though, soon there’s going to be one less, as Akihabara’s beloved Star Kebab has announced that it’s closing down for good.

Star Kebab’s story begins back in 1995, when its owner, Mustafa, arrived in Japan from Turkey. Starting his life in the country as a language school student, he worked in a variety of restaurants before starting his own food truck business selling kebabs in the summer of 1999.

▼ A Star Kebab food truck

That original truck parked at various places around Tokyo, including the nightlife districts of Shinjuku and Roppongi. Eventually, though, a spot in front of Akihabara’s Washington Hotel became one of their most popular locations, and in the spring of 2005 the permanent Star Kebab stand opened in Akihabara.

▼ Star Kebab’s Akihabara main branch

Or, at least it was permanent in the sense that it wasn’t designed as a pop-up or temporary location. After 18 years in the neighborhood, Star Kebab is shutting down next month, and has posted a notice saying:

“To all of our customers,

Thank you for your continued patronage. We will be closing on February 20. We deeply appreciate your support over all the years. Thank you to everyone who came all the way to our shop.”

▼ Some of Star Kebab’s mouthwatering soon-to-disappear food

▼ And yes, of course Star Kebab has cute anime-style mascot characters.

News of Star Kebab’s imminent closure has sent shockwaves through the Akihabara/anime enthusiast/foodie spheres in Japan, as well as rumbles through its collective belly, as shown in online reactions such as:

“I always ate at Star Kebab when I went to Akihabara.”
“So sad. I live in Tochigi Prefecture, so when I go to Akihabara I eat at Star Kebab, plus buy extra to take home as a souvenir.”
“I’ve been eating there for 15 years.”
“So many memories of walking around Akihabara with friends and then stopping for Star Kebab. Gonna have to make one last run while we can.”
“I live far from Tokyo, but I’m going to have to make one last trip in to eat there before it closes.”
“Akihabara is always changing, but Star Kebab really carved out a place for itself in the local food culture.”
“Whaaaaat? Are both locations closing?”
“I’m so sad to hear this, but thank you for all the good times.”
“Thank you for all the kebabs. For me, you really were ‘the taste of Akiba.’”
“You had my favorite kebabs in the whole wide world.”

And yes, to answer that one commenter’s question, both Star Kebab locations, the Akihabara main branch and Akiba Terrace branch a few blocks to its north, are closing, as are their food truck/event operations.

▼ Star Kebab Akiba Terrace

As also referenced in the online reactions, Akihabara being a big tourist draw for otaku who live in more rural parts of Japan means their anime merch shopping trips doubled as opportunities to experience new types of cuisine that might not be as common in their home towns. Thankfully, Akihabara still has other great places to eat, like the best chicken nanban restaurant in the city, but with the Star Kebab arc of Akiba food history reaching its end on February 20, we know what we’ll be eating one last time if we find ourselves in the neighborhood before then.

Restaurant information
Star Kebab (Akihabara main branch) / スターケバブ(秋葉原本店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Sotokanda 1-8-10
Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Source: Twitter/@starkebab via IT Media
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