Thursday, April 18

Yamato closes after nine years of service in Westwood Village

The Janss Investment Company Building's landlord is looking for a new restaurant to move into the space Yamato left vacant. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The Janss Investment Company Building's landlord is looking for a new restaurant to move into the space Yamato left vacant. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Yamato, a Japanese restaurant, closed on June 11 after almost nine years in Westwood Village.

The restaurant was located in the Janss Investment Company Building on the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Kinross Avenue.

The building’s landlord has begun looking for a new tenant to fill the restaurant space, said Suzanne Laff, a broker for Beitler Commercial Realty Services. She added she did not know why Yamato closed or how long the space would remain empty.

The restaurant’s management could not be reached for comment.

Steven Sann, the Westwood Community Council chair, said he thinks a restaurant capable of attracting new visitors to Westwood should replace Yamato.

“This is an uncommon building that needs an uncommon restaurant,” Sann said.

He added he thinks the landlord should renovate the historic building to attract better businesses.

Laff said she did not know whether the landlord plans to renovate the building.

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said Yamato’s closing is a loss for Westwood but hopes a better restaurant fills in the space. He said the space is important for its long history in Westwood and its central location.

“This is huge property in our district and we need to have a great use to for it,” Thomas said.

The Janss Investment Company Building opened in 1929, the same year UCLA moved to Westwood. Edwin and Harold Janss, Westwood Village’s original planners, used the building as their headquarters.

From the late 1930s to the 1970s, the building was known as the “Bank of America building” because of the 50-foot metal rod on top of the dome bearing the bank’s name. Since then, a bank, clothing store, music store and an Italian-Asian restaurant have occupied the space, Sann said.

Laff said she did not know when the building’s landlord would announce Yamato’s replacement.

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News senior staff

Roberto Luna Jr. is currently a senior staffer covering Westwood, crime and transportation. He was previously an assistant News editor from 2015-2016 and a News contributor from 2014-2015.

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  • Concerned Parent

    We recently ate at Yamato’s and remarked how old the building was and how decrepit the interior had gotten (Christmas lights still up in May?) The owner should completely renovate the interior and create a fabulous coffee, tea and smoothie shop with healthy food for students to be able to go and relax. Most coffee shops in the area are very small and often crowded.

    • TW

      A nice idea, but coffee, tea, and smoothies would never pay for the rent here.

    • John Northrup

      yep, I worked here and it was embarrassing. The (restaurant) owner is unprofessional and does not maintain ethical standards of business operation. Sadly, the fact that the Happy Hour beer was cheaper than the soda and they never promoted drinks at the bar were probably two of the main reasons the location couldn’t stay open.

  • Henry

    This location deserves a truly fantastic restaurant

  • DJ

    Nooooo! The sushi was the best I’ve ever tried, and the happy hour pricing was college-student-budget worthy.

    Had a lot of happy memories and celebrations there.

  • rocc

    Another closed restaurant?
    I wonder why?
    Also, i just heard Coffee Bean on the corner or Gayley is closing in 3 days and Five Guys Burgers went out of business also.

    Seems like every other retail space in Westwood Village is out of business.
    Anyone have any opinions on this?

    • DJ

      Five Guys, too? Sheesh.