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Japan-Based Yakitori Chain to Open First U.S. Location Near Boston

Tori Jiro joins the list of forthcoming restaurants at Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development

Tori Jiro logo
Tori Jiro logo
Tori Jiro [Official Logo]

Watertown’s Arsenal Yards development (485 Arsenal St.) — which, once completed, will feature retail, offices, apartments, and more — announced another addition to its restaurant lineup today: the first United States location of Tori Jiro, a Japan-based yakitori chain with over 60 locations in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Italy.

Attendees of this year’s Japan Festival Boston, which took place last month, had the opportunity to try Tori Jiro’s chicken yakitori (char-broiled skewers) and karaage (fried chicken). The restaurant chain also serves dishes such as tsukune, charcoal-grilled chicken meatballs with tare sauce and a yolk mixture for dunking.

“Boston is one of my favorite cities and I was looking to open my first U.S. location somewhere nearby that had the action of the city with a welcoming neighborhood feel,” Tori Jiro founder Yuki Watanabe said, via today’s press release. “We’re excited to be a part of the growth of East End Watertown and to share a taste of Japan with Arsenal Yards.”

Arsenal Yards businesses are expected to start opening in late 2019 and into 2020 and 2021. A number of other restaurants have already been announced for the development; so far, the lineup consists of out-of-town chains, many of which already have other Boston-area locations. There’s fast-casual burger chain Shake Shack, which has locations around the globe and opened its 100th in Boston in 2016, one of several local outposts. Poke chain Pokéworks, which has a location in Somerville’s Davis Square and another in Cambridge’s Harvard Square, is also coming, as is New Haven’s legendary pizzeria Frank Pepe, which has locations in Chestnut Hill and Burlington. The third Boston-area location of the Tender Greens chain will also open at Arsenal Yards, as will the ubiquitous Chipotle.

Newer to the area will be Arsenal Yards’ locations of City Works Eatery & Pour House, a small national pub chain, and Rhode Island’s Condesa Restaurante Mexicano, which only has two locations so far, both in Rhode Island.

Tori Jiro will join quite a substantial Japanese food scene in the Boston area. Yakitori, in particular, can be found at restaurants such as Momi Nonmi in Cambridge; Ichiban near Boston’s Symphony Hall; Ittoku, which will soon relocate from Allston to Cambridge; and beyond.

Update, 3:20 p.m.: This article has been updated to clarify the development’s timeline; parts of Arsenal Yards will be opening from late 2019 into 2020 and 2021.