It's time to say sayonara to Banzai Sushi & Grill. After 22 years serving sushi and other Japanese fare in Central Austin, the restaurant is shuttering.
"We are so sorry we could not tell everyone sooner, we were holding out hope and trying our best to remain open for as long as we could," the restaurant said in a Facebook post.
The locally owned Banzai first opened on the Drag in 1996 where it developed a following among University of Texas students. Following its move to 3918 N. Lamar Blvd., the restaurant continued to attract both students and neighbors who took advantage of its affordable prices and cult-like bento boxes.
"We watched our customers and employees grow up, some even having kids of their own, returning to Banzai to greet us and enjoy their favorite meals, we are so grateful to have been part of your lives," said the restaurant.
The last day of service for Banzai is Tuesday, January 2. Later this year, the space will reopen as part of the first Rudy's Bar-B-Q outpost in Central Austin. Though the Austin American-Statesman previously reported that Banzai's building, along with the shuttered EZ's next door, would become part Rudy's, it was unclear if the restaurant would continue operating in another space.
There are no immediate plans to open another incarnation of the eatery, but Banzai did take to Facebook to tease plans for a possible new space."You all have inspired us so much that we are considering one day in the future we may open a Banzai 3," the restaurant said.