We tapped Sachi Nakato, the owner of her family’s restaurant Nakato in Atlanta, to answer some questions we had about how she got started in the industry and how she serves up some of the best Japanese food in Atlanta. Read on to hear her story and more.
“I am the 3rd generation restaurateur of Nakato Japanese Restaurant in Atlanta, GA. My Grandmother "Testuko" Nakato and her younger sister ‘Yae’ Nakato started the restaurant back in 1972 at the young age of 63 and 57 with my mother, Hiroe Nakato and uncle, Kenzo Nakato. Fast forward 45 years, Nakato Japanese Restaurant continues to serve the southeast region of the United States with 4 other locations focusing on authentic Japanese dining. The Atlanta location, in particular, is run by the 3rd generation of women continuing the legacy of Grandmom ‘Testuko’ and ‘Yae’.”
“I was born into the restaurant industry running around the kitchen and helping at a young age.”
“Being a woman in the restaurant industry means strength and determination. I have the utmost respect for women in the industry because naturally the work/family balance is a challenging one, especially if you have children.”
“Being a young woman in the heavily male-dominated restaurant industry was definitely a big intimidation factor especially with a Japanese background. The society is very patriarchal and even with the business being in the States and me being born in Atlanta, the Japanese cultural and societal influences was hard to shake for a young girl. It has been 14 years since I’ve been back full-time at my family’s restaurant business and I’m still in the learning process.”
“My inspiration is all the working mothers of the world. Period. It doesn’t matter what industry. I know the hardships of balancing family and work and you can’t have one without the other. So my inspiration is my grandmother, my mother, my sister, and my staff with kids.”
“My grandmother Yae’s Japanese style ‘korokke’ or croquette. It’s a popular Japanese home cooked food made with potato, vegetables, and ground beef.”
“Nakato’s Super Crunch Roll and King Shrimp Roll is my favorite delivery dish.”