Legendary Montclair Japanese Restaurant to Close

by Peter Candia

All good things must come to an end eventually and for Daikichi in Montclair, NJ, that time is now. The legendary restaurant—often credited with pioneering Japanese cuisine in Montclair—has announced that its last service will be on Saturday, September 16. 

Daikichi wowed Montclair diners with both authentic and contemporary takes on Japanese cooking. After moving to the states from Japan in the 80’s, Aki Kaneda noticed a gap in Montclair’s budding dining scene: There were no Japanese restaurants. So, in 1988, Kaneda took matters into his own hands and opened Daikichi. Since then, Daikichi has remained a family-run operation, with plenty of regulars who have been dining there since the very beginning. 

For over 30 years, fans of the quaint Valley Road eatery returned again and again for sushi, traditional udon, teriyaki, their famous ginger dressing and a variety of tempura options. Unique specials would be hand-written in chalk and displayed on a blackboard in the dining room—often containing some of the tastiest bites that the restaurant had to offer.


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In a statement on the Daikichi website, the Kaneda family wrote: “Daikichi will be closing its doors this Saturday, 9/16, after 35 years of business. This was an incredibly difficult decision to make and while we are sad to say goodbye to this era, our family is ready to move on to its next chapter. Thank you for your support, thank you for the wonderful memories created together, thank you for allowing us to build a home here. We are forever grateful. The Kaneda’s.”

Daikichi has left an indelible mark on the Montclair dining scene and Upper Montclair locals won’t soon forget the impact that the Japanese restaurant had on shaping the restaurant landscape of the Essex County town. Today, Japanese food remains one of the most popular cuisines in Montclair through the likes of Ani Ramen, Nori, Toro Sushi, Pasta Ramen and more. But, for many long-time Montclair diners, Daikichi was their first taste of Japanese flavors in the Garden State. 

Daikichi will be forever missed by many. If you have never tried their exceptional dishes, it’s not too late to get a taste before the door closes for good. For regulars, the time is now to get one last taste of this Montclair favorite. 

About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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