Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sako's is back!

I guess if you are new to the area, you are not sure what I mean by "Sako's is back!" Sako's is a world famous restaurant that is located just a few minutes from the Main Gate. It has been around for as long as I can remember (and that's a LONG time) and it has always been operated by a very nice couple. As they got older, they cut back on their hours until they were only open for a couple of hours each day and they had a limit on how much they would make. Oops. I guess I should mention what it is they are known for. They make amazing BLT's. I also love their onion rings. Now, back to my story. Since they had cut back on their hours and placed a limit on how much they would make per day, I started to think about the possibility that Sako's would shut down for good. And it was really just a matter of time. Then I started seeing posts on Facebook asking if anyone knew why Sako's was closed and whether they were ever going to open again. My heart sank. I couldn't help but wonder if one of them had gotten sick. Were they okay? Maybe they were on vacation? I thought about a lot of possibilities for why they were closed, but none of them had to do with the couple selling the place! I thought, "It's never going to be the same" I patiently waited along with everyone else and I heard that the new owners wanted to keep the food the same and so the previous owners were showing them how to make everything the exact same way they did. Once I heard that, I was excited about going again.

Last Friday, Sako's reopened under new ownership. I went for lunch on Monday and when I walked in, I was pleasantly surprised. The new owners had been very busy. Not only were they learning how to cook the food the same way, but they had also done a little remodeling.
The wall that had all of the business cards on it was completely changed. The business cards were gone (that kind of made me sad) and replaced with a very nice wall. I liked the business cards on the wall because it was kind of cool to see names I recognized from 10 years ago or before. It kind of gave the place character. But I do like the new wall too.

They also got new tables

The amount of space they have didn't change. There are still only three tables in the restaurant and a few seats at the counter, but the new tables give it an updated look.

Now for the good part. The food!

I ordered a BLT and onion rings. I wasn't too worried about the BLT, but the onion rings were going to be the test.

First, the BLT was brought out. It looks the same! Now, I have to remind you that this is a mom and pop joint so it takes a little while for your food to come out. Please be patient. It's really worth the wait!

Someone at our table ordered a fish sandwich and was nice enough to let me take a picture of it before he bit into it.
I love that everyone is so supportive of my crazy food taking habits! He said the fish sandwich was good too!

Then came the onion rings....

Mmmmmm...they look exactly the same! I couldn't wait to dig in! And when I did......yes, they tasted the same!

The food tasted the same. I was so happy about that! It was kind of strange though to walk in and not see the obasan (what we call older ladies) behind the counter. I really hope they enjoy their retirement, but they are going to be missed. The new couple seem very nice. She even gave us some free zucchini soup that she had made. It was YUMMY! AND she also speaks very good English.

While we were eating, a delivery guy showed up with these beautiful flowers for the new owners -
In Japan, it is customary to send flowers to celebrate the opening of a new business. These were just gorgeous!

To get to Sako's, go out main gate and just go straight. Continue over the railroad tracks. Sako's is on the left corner at the 4-way intersection (4 corners). It's a small doorway that some people completely miss. They do have a chalkboard sign outside now.

And according to their sign, they even have parking now.

I do love the new hours!

If you are not a fan of BLT's they also offer fried rice (which is yummy too!). It's also close enough to walk to. Not sure what to do for dinner tonight? Head on over to Sako's and have one of their world famous BLT's! And don't forget to get some onion rings with that!


  1. It has been 25 years since I have had the privilege and honor of eating a Sako's BLT. It is heart warming at the very least to know the new owners are steadfastly keeping to the original. Now if we could just get space A flights back?

  2. Thanks for commenting Richie! Yes, Space A is a difficult way to get here. You could always try to get to Tokyo and the work your way down. It would be a great way to see other parts of Japan! :)

    1. Linda thank U so much for the wonderful news about Sako's! I was stationed in Iwakuni from '72-'73 and I've always said, to anyone who would listen, that Sako's ALWAYS made the BEST BLT in the world! A visit to Sako's is in my "TOP 10" bucket list. Also, since I'm retired USN I follow SPACE A closely and using Hickam, Kadena, and Yokota flights in/out of Iwakuni are regularly available. PS: I got out of the USMC in 1974 because they wouldn't let me stay in Iwakuni.

    2. WOW!! SAKO'S BLT!!! My first trip to Iwakuni was in 1966, a 30 day deployment from Viet Nam. Don't remember if we ate there or not. However, I did 2 tours in Iwakuni, 1973 & 1976 [ya, I asked to go back]. Sako's was a Saturday nite tradition. If we got there before midnight you could get served fast. One to eat there and one to take back for breakfast. WOW!! SAKO'S BLT!!

      Bill Kana
      Gunnery Sgt.
      USMC (Ret)

  3. I was stationed in Iwakuni from May '71 to May'72. My sandwiches were just bacon and lettuce (don't care for tomatoes). They were absolutely the best I ever ate. Back then, if memory serves, you could get a sandwich and a small Coke for 200 yen. Sako's was so popular that you had to get in early on payday or wait for a long time to be served. I got to know Papa-san and usually didn't have to wait too long. If you ever get to Iwakuni, go to Sako's. You won't regret it.

    former LCpl., USMC

  4. I ate many many many BLT's from Sako's while I was stationed at MCAS Iwakuni in '76. Absolutely the world's most perfect BLT. I sincerely hope the new owners make such an awesome BLT.

    former LCpl., USMC

  5. Mark Rankin, MSgt Ret.September 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    YES!!! ~ Now I want 3 or 4 (FedEx-AIR) BLT's here in Texas ~ lol How do I order from here!

    I was station at MCAS Iwakuni Japan several times between 1973 and 1995 when I retired. I had always tried to find a duplicate BLT somewhere else and every time I was disappointed. You hear a lot of talk these days about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I can tell you that after many conversations with other Iwakuni veretans that there is a "NO Bacon Letuce & Tomato Stress Disorder" (NBLTSD) as well... lol

    Thank you very much for the pictures. I knew the pictures were real when I saw the front door. Some thing you never forget! How could anyone forget how such a small unassuming little door would mean knowing what was hiding behind its threshold. Such tasty memories!

    I can remember the many nights (hot or cold weather, wet or dry!) many made the journey from the barracks to Sako's for a BLT and bear. Like many I also bought one for the road and many times it was gone before I reach home.

  6. early 1970s.. our tailor shop, NEDs was right next to SAKOs.
    i especially loved their HAMBURGER...Jughead would have been proud !
    iwakuni always had SAKOs.

  7. I was in iwakuni 72-73, the cherry blossom festivale and sakos was on my bucket list for some time. Made it back last year and was so excited sakos was still there.

    Nice people, and maybe it's just reality can never match memories of a 19 yr old , and although the cherry blossoms of Kinti Park did not disappoint, sakos BLT was very very ordinary. Guess there is no going back but I'll always remember the greatest BLT in the world at Sakos 1972!