RakiRaki Team To Replace Pokirrito Concepts In Little Italy & Kearny Mesa With Plant-Based The Yasai

September 25, 2019

The team behind San Diego's Rakiraki Ramen + Tsukemen is rebranding their Pokirrito locations in Little Italy and Kearny Mesa to become The Yasai, an all-vegan Japanese izakaya concept set to unveil this fall.

Chef and owner Junya Watanabe first opened the original Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen in the heart of Kearny Mesa's Convoy District in 2012, and the restaurant became an immediate hit due to its stylish design menu of authentic Japanese cuisine, including curry, tsukemen (dipping noodles), rice bowls, a variety of ramen soups, ramen burgers, specialty sushi rolls, and delicious fried chicken karaage. Watanabe took over the space adjacent to Rakiraki for the flagship location of his Pokirrito concept, which unveiled in Spring 2016, offering a counter service menu consisting mainly of poke bowls and giant sushi burritos. A second location of Rakiraki & Pokirrito opened in Little Italy in summer 2016 and a third outpost of RakiRaki launched at 3282 Mission Street in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood in 2017. Watanabe also operates a Rakiraki stand in Liberty Public Market and opened a hand roll-centric sushi concept called J/Wata Temaki Bar near his original RakiRaki space in late 2017.

Watanabe is staying with the culinary trends and adapting his two Pokirrito sushi burrito and poke bowl eateries to become The Yasai, which means "vegetables" in Japanese. Pokirrito restaurants at 4646 Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa and 2252 India Street in Little Italy will shutter this weekend and reopen this fall as a plant-based izakaya, featuring ramen, sushi rolls, and a variety of Japanese snacks and dishes.