No More Kinoko

Downtown Plano restaurant scene takes a hit with sad closure

Downtown Plano restaurant scene takes a hit with sad closure

Kinoko, pork and tofu
Tofu and pork sukiyaki at Kinoko in downtown Plano. Photo courtesy of Kinoko
Kinoko, ramen
Kinoko's ramen with fried rice. Photo courtesy of Kinoko
Kinoko, pork and tofu
Kinoko, ramen

Downtown Plano might be a hot-and-happening location for some restaurants, but not all. In sad news, Kinoko, the charming little Japanese-American restaurant on Avenue K, has closed for good.

The restaurant was closed for spring break from March 17-21, and the owners decided not to reopen.

"With sadness, Kinoko must close its doors for the last time," co-owner Kumi Yamamoto said. "We have enjoyed our time together and have many fond memories of the times we shared."

Owned by Kumi and her sister Aki, Kinoko was a sweet and brave spot with excellent homespun food at extremely affordable prices. The restaurant offered intriguing daily specials for under $10, such as ponzu-mayo chicken cutlets and spicy stir-fry pork and veggies over soy ramen. The menu also included one-of-a-kind items such as sweet baked potato and apple pudding.

"I decided to do this restaurant because I wanted to be close to my sister, and my sister was living in Japan," Kumi said when she opened the restaurant in September 2013.

They made everything from scratch. But the restaurant's personality was perhaps too quirky and lacking in barbecue for the typical Dallas diner. In February, they offered a deal on Groupon, and that's never a good sign.

In addition, Kinoko suffered a challenging location on Avenue K. The restaurant took over the space that was Daisy's (which has since relocated to 15th Street and been renamed Angela's). Despite its proximity to downtown, Avenue K is not actually on the main strip and therefore tends to get overlooked.

The area has received a boost from arrivals such as Lockhart Smokehouse and the imminent arrival of Dalat, joining success stories such as Urban Crust and Fillmore Pub.

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