BIZNOTE: New ownership for West Seattle Junction restaurant Mashiko

Thanks for the tips that something was up at Mashiko, the acclaimed restaurant at 4725 California SW in The Junction. We have confirmed with longtime proprietor Chef Hajime Sato that, after 25 years, he has sold Mashiko to new ownership. In response to our inquiry, he sent this statement:

After nearly 25 years, effective yesterday, Mashiko has been sold to new ownership who will continue operating Mashiko in its current location. This was an extremely difficult decision, but it is the right one for my family. Thank you for trusting me to make so many meals for you. There are lots of people that I will deeply miss. Thank you for all of the great memories. I wish you many epic food adventures! Do not stop trying new things!

My wife’s cancer has made us reexamine our priorities. We are moving so that we can continue to heal mentally, physically, and financially. I will be making food again soon. If you’re ever near Detroit, come on by.

Sato has made news for, among other things, a commitment to serving sustainable seafood (as spotlighted here in 2011). Meantime, we will be pursuing more information about the new owners and their plans.

42 Replies to "BIZNOTE: New ownership for West Seattle Junction restaurant Mashiko"

  • Mark February 27, 2019 (5:24 pm)

    My wife and I have been going there for 10 years, and we were married there. Hajime, Mariah and the other staff have been like family for us.

  • CMT February 27, 2019 (5:27 pm)

    Best of luck to Mr. Sato and his wife and thank you for so many years!  

  • anonyme February 27, 2019 (5:27 pm)

    Oh no!  I’ll have to let my friends in Detroit know that our best sushi chef is headed their way…

  • KM February 27, 2019 (5:52 pm)

    Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear of his wife’s cancer. Mashiko is a treasure. Thank you for all the wonderful meals!

  • Blbl February 27, 2019 (6:28 pm)

    Nooooo!!!  My favorite restaurant in all the world!  Best wishes and thank you for the wonderful culinary memories. 

  • oishi February 27, 2019 (7:39 pm)

    very sad to hear both of these pieces of news: the sale and the health of hajime’s wife, but respect the decision he’s made and understand how difficult it must have been. after going to mashiko over the years and singing their praises to seattleites and friends coming to visit from out of town, all i can say is i hope detroit knows that’s coming their way.  hajime is one of a kind and has a discerning eye for food quality,and presentation.  i’m very sad to see him go and hold,high hopes that the new owners are able to maintain the high standards hajime has set.  good luck to both the restaurant and to hajime and his family.

  • Maguro February 27, 2019 (8:09 pm)

    Best Sushi in Seattle.  We will miss this amazing restaurant.  

  • timeslid February 27, 2019 (8:11 pm)

    My heart is really really heavy on hearing this news. Hajime San has been so kind to me and such a great ear to life’s experiences.  Mashiko was one of our inspirations to travel to Japan and visit the town Mashiko and see where Hajime grew up. What a visit!!!!Best of luck my friend you made your/our corner of West Seattle a much better place.

  • Amomama February 27, 2019 (9:46 pm)

    Wishing Hajime and his family the very best. Hoping for health and peace. 

  • Al February 27, 2019 (10:08 pm)

    Thank you for so many wonderful meals. Here’s to health and happiness in your new home. Detroit is lucky to have you!

  • Cynthia Brantley February 27, 2019 (10:14 pm)

    Thank you to Hajime for all of the amazing food and hospitality. My husband and I had our first date at Mashiko.  I won him over immediately with my selection of restaurant.  Thank you and a speedy recovery.

  • Mj February 27, 2019 (10:36 pm)

    Mashiko’s is our favorite restaurant, people travel from the east side for his raw fish.  Sad to hear about his wife, hopefully a full recovery is around the corner.

  • Christopher Boffoli February 27, 2019 (10:50 pm)

    Such sad news that chef is departing!  There are too few meaningful, sincere restaurants in Seattle.  Sato-san is truly one of the greats, with a level of humility that belies his skill and creativity. I had many terrific meals at Mashiko over the years, including one omakase meal with Nancy Leson that blew us away.  I can’t believe ten years have elapsed since this interview: wish him the best in Detroit (lots of motorcycles there chef!) and hope that his wife weathers the storm and is back to good health very soon.

  • Abyk February 27, 2019 (11:09 pm)

    Excellent sushi, atmosphere and service. It’s been our family tradition for New Year’s Eve for years and he will be missed. Good luck and best wishes on future. 

  • m February 28, 2019 (12:47 am)

    I just want everyone to know the staff of Mashiko hopes we can reopen with the same integrity and quality of food/service. It is so sad this has happened. Hajime deserves support for his and his wife’s well being. We truly hope the community of West Seattle will support this restaurant through this transition. 

    • MrsT February 28, 2019 (10:28 am)

      We’ll be there the moment we hear you’ve reopened! Here’s to that happening sooner rather than later. I’ve got anniversaries to celebrate!

  • Kelly February 28, 2019 (6:37 am)

    Thank you for the memories and for the best meals I’ve ever had 🙏

  • Babs February 28, 2019 (6:46 am)

    So are they closed for now?  Just asking because I have a reservation for tomorrow night.

  • Q February 28, 2019 (7:04 am)

    I just want to say thank you for the decade plus of wonderful memories and great meals. Hajime you really created something special. Thank you for working to raise awareness of sustainability. Thank you for your creativity. I hope all the best for you and your wife. I know the excellent staff will continue on in your tradition!

  • MrsT February 28, 2019 (7:21 am)

    This makes sense now. All the best to Hajime and family. To the new ownership: PLEASE bring back the staff. 

  • ACG February 28, 2019 (7:39 am)

    I am so sad to hear this news. Hajime and everyone at Mashiko’s is wonderful and the food is amazing. My favorite sushi restaurant (and just restaurant). I wish Hajime and his family all the best and I keep his wife in my thoughts. Thank you, Hajime, for creating wonderful memories for us over the years. Blessings to you. 

  • Yvonne February 28, 2019 (9:06 am)

    Oh my aching heart! I am so sad to hear about Hajime and his wife leaving for Detroit but under the circumstance totally understandable. I have been going to Mashiko’s since the day they opened and in the early days ate lunch there at least once a week. While I wish the new owner all the best, there is no one who can replace Hajime! He is the BEST sushi master in Seattle and will be missed beyond measure!! May the future be filled with many blessings of good health ,love and prosperity.

  • Rhonda Porter February 28, 2019 (9:06 am)

    Hajime, best wishes to you and your wife. Your family is in our thoughts. Thank you for the wonderful dinners and wonderful introduction to extraordinary sushi. 

  • zark00 February 28, 2019 (1:26 pm)

    Double sad news.  Like many others have been a regular since Hajime started, and will miss him greatly.  Best to his family, I know everything will be ok, it has to be.  West Seattle will miss you more than we can every really articulate.    Couple reminders – Soy sauce is not a beverage, and, shut up and eat!  Mariah is legit a master chef – she’s amazing!  I REALLY hope these ‘new owners’ are Mariah and team – ya never know, could happen!

  • Deb February 28, 2019 (1:39 pm)

    Thank you for your great food, service and sustainable practices.  Wishing you both a healing journey.  Health is a priority.

  • Hutch February 28, 2019 (2:03 pm)

    Hajime!! Reese and I are devastated! We’re very sorry to hear about your wife and the dreaded cancer…a horrible disease. Good luck to you, your wife and family. Hutch and Reese

  • lawrence a clayman February 28, 2019 (3:27 pm)

    thoughts and prayers to you and your family

  • Robin February 28, 2019 (3:31 pm)

    Thank you for all the great meals, Hajime! Best sushi in Seattle- I would always take visiting family to Mashiko and go there for special occasions. I loved being introduced to new fish  and having several “I thought I didn’t like this, but this is actually tasty” moments. I hope Mariah is staying on with the new owners and keeps the flavor and same spirit going! I will be recommending Hajime’s future venture to all my friends and family in the Detroit area. Best wishes to you and your wife.

  • Michael February 28, 2019 (7:06 pm)

    Chop sticks are not drum sticks!

  • Mariah February 28, 2019 (7:45 pm)

    Hello all. Thank you for all the outreach and kind words. This is Mariah, I have worked for Mashiko for almost 19 years. I hope with the new owners support we will make Mashiko as great as it was. We are happy to announce that we are working very hard to reopen this Sunday. We want to take just a few days to make some minor repairs. We hope you understand and will return soon to let us serve you. I have seen the community support in West Seattle over the years and that is just one reason I love my job and this town. 

    • ACG March 1, 2019 (7:33 am)

      Thank you for the update, Mariah. I wish you all the best with this transition, too (and the rest of the staff). I’m sure this is incredibly difficult for you all. We will stop in soon to see you and think of all the good times (and good food) we have had there!

    • MrsT March 1, 2019 (10:08 am)


    • KM March 1, 2019 (11:06 am)

      Mariah, we adore you! We hope to see you soon.

  • Kabori17 February 28, 2019 (9:11 pm)

    “you do not order sake ‘sweet’ or ‘dry'”… Thanks for the best sake lessons every year for my birthday since we moved here four years ago, Hajime. 

  • Melinda March 1, 2019 (10:37 am)


    To the Mashiko team, we are saddened to hear of Hajime and
    his wife’s health challenges. Sending healing energy their way.

    John and I are honored to have been able to get know Hajime
    and the Mashiko team during the past many years. The food- OH MY! Nothing
    tastier. The knowledge imparted- wonderful. Will miss seeing Hajime’s smile
    behind the bar. Looking forward to continued food delights at Mashiko.

    • Reeve Baily March 1, 2019 (11:42 am)

      So true about the knowledge…you weren’t just going to eat…if you sat at the bar you were going to get schooled. Sometimes you even came away bruised because Hajime doesn’t suffer fools. And after a few Masu boxes of sake, one was often foolish. I recall one such incident where I asked Hajime to make me a spicy tuna roll. But I said I wanted him to really challenge me. I know the thought bubble in his head was “That is just going to mask the flavor of the fish – you noob. ” He took a while, working on other orders but coming back to mine, and even busted out a mortar & pestle at one point. To this day the hottest sushi I ever had – and I LOVED IT!

  • Reeve Baily March 1, 2019 (11:20 am)

    I don’t read sadness…I read empowerment. Twenty-five years is a long f—ing time to do one thing, and to do it really well.  I refuse to write in the past tense because although you two are the Jordan/Pippin of Sushi, Mariah kicks ass (I have a button that guarantees this)  and she’s not about to let Mashiko’s soul die.  I wish you and your family well! 

  • Nick Nussbaum March 2, 2019 (2:14 am)

    My own health issues have kept me from going to Mashiko’s very often in the last few years. But I remember fondly being taught about Sushi by Hajime and still have the dashi plane he brought me back and many nights at the sushi bar.Hajime, I hope you and your wife and family do well and prosper in Detroit and that you find a community that will love you as much as we do here in West Seattle.Mariah, I’m sure you well maintain the excellence and develop new exciting food. 

  • Mariah March 2, 2019 (10:42 pm)

    Hello again. We are definitely be open Monday evening. Thank you all for your patience. See all your lovely faces soon.

    • Mariah March 3, 2019 (12:29 am)

      I’m sorry for the poor grammar. I promise to be forming coherent sentences on Monday. It has been quite the crazy week.

  • Eva-Lise Carlstrom March 11, 2019 (2:16 pm)

    My husband once gifted me with the menu to Mashiko after I expressed an interest in going.  I thought that meant he was taking me there.  He meant he was taking me there until we’d eaten the whole menu! We are there almost every week for a week for a year, and in fact ate many things that were not on the menu.  Hajime is an exemplary artist of food, passionate about principles of quality and ethics, and a lot of fun to talk to.  My husband and I had him marry us at the sushi bar, and asked him to do some calligraphy for us for a tattoo design.  We will miss him terribly, but plan to return to Mashiko for Mariah’s excellent work too.  We are so sorry to hear of his wife’s illness, and wish their family all the best.  Someday we may have to seek out his cooking in Detroit.

  • eileenwesley March 12, 2019 (3:39 pm)

    Hajime has created a stellar dining experience…..each and every time we dined there….which was very often. We loved sitting at the sushi bar and speaking with him about our visits to Japan.  Over our the past 15+ years living in West Seattle….we have “put ourselves in his hands” on most of the occasions and were never disappointed.  We will miss him terribly as we reminisce about his welcoming attitude each time we dined with him.  We are shocked that he is leaving and hope his wife finds good treatment in Detroit.  I wish I had known and could have been of some help to them.  We will miss you, Hajime….the ultimate sushiwhore!

Sorry, comment time is over.