RakiRaki Offshoot J/Wata Temaki Bar Will Not Reopen

October 19, 2020

In 2017, the owner of San Diego's RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen opened a Japanese hand-rolled sushi concept dubbed J/Wata Temaki Bar, but we received word that the Kearny Mesa eatery is permanently closed.

Over the past few years, Junya Watanabe has been slowly taking over the complex at 4646 Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. Adding to his two other concepts sited in the small strip mall, he opened J/Wata Temaki Bar in 2017 in the quaint 1,500 square-foot space next door to his original RakiRaki. The eatery was devoted to the art of temaki, or cone-shaped sushi hand rolls. There has been no official announcement about J/Wata's closure but it has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic and we were informed the business has been sold and will not be reopening. 

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. Earlier this year, Watanabe converted both Pokirrito eateries and RakiRaki Little Italy to become The Yasai, a fully-vegan Japanese restaurant.