After two years, healthy Asian restaurant chain Tokyo Joe's is closing its original branch in the Dallas area. That would be the location in Richardson, on Campbell Road near US-75, and it closes on June 22.
Company president and CEO Mark Davis sent out a personal letter to the restaurant's most loyal customers, thanking them for their support and saying he was "deeply saddened" by the closure. It's the first Tokyo Joe's to close since it was founded in 1996.
"This location unfortunately just did not take for us, a first in 20 years of business," Davis says. "For whatever reason, we weren't able to be successful at the Richardson location, despite our efforts over the course of two years."
Tokyo Joe's was founded in Colorado by Larry Leith, a professional skier and cyclist who was ahead of the game in "clean eating" by creating a concept without preservatives where the food was steamed not fried, healthy yet affordable.
They were early in addressing diners with special requests, with dishes for vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. Calories are listed for each item. One cool thing they offer is a choice of white meat chicken or dark, in dishes such as their yakitori bowl with ramen noodles, spinach, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, yakitori sauce, and peanuts.
The Richardson location was in a revamped center and neighbors to Snuffer's, Zoe's Kitchen, and Torchy's Taco.
"Since we announced the closure, we've received feedback from customers who loved that the food was healthy and flavorful, but I think the demographic there overall was a little tougher for us," Davis says. "Some of the comments we got previously were that the food would be better with more sauce. It almost seemed like it was too healthy? It's a surprise, because we've discovered that what we do works just about anywhere."
That includes the chain's other three area branches on Custer Road in McKinney, near Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, and on Collins Street in Arlington.
Davis, who previously worked with Panera Breads, has been with the company since 2015.
"We're coming up on 50 locations, and our menu has popular dishes like sushi, poke bowls, rice bowls, and salads," he says. "I'm not sure that a healthy alternative was what Richardson was looking for."