Since expanding its all-you-can-eat menu last week, new Chapel Street restaurant Anaya Sushi has experienced a surge of customers.
Anaya, a Japanese restaurant that offers a $21 all-you-can-eat option, opened three months ago on Chapel Street. Owner Soraya Kaoroptham, who also owns York Street Noodle House nearby on York Street, said she wanted to attract a significant number of customers, particularly Yale students and faculty, through the all-you-can-eat option. But the popularity of the expanded all-you-can-eat option has slowed down the service and has posed new challenges for Kaoroptham’s business.
Seeing the restaurant’s popularity, Kaoroptham said she also plans to open a late night ramen house in Anaya’s space when the sushi restaurant closes for the night. The proposed ramen restaurant would be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, according to the owner.
The all-you-can-eat menu was recently upgraded to include a new section of special rolls and other items. During the past four days, as more and more people noticed the menu expansion, the restaurant has seen its busiest days since the place opened in January, according to Kaoroptham. While the surge in customers has spurred business, some students said they experienced a slower service when eating at the restaurant.
Bo Malin-Mayor ’15 said that he had a bad experience at the restaurant when dining with a group of roughly 15. While the food was fine, it took over an hour to get all the food ready, he said.
“They were not ready to prepare the large amount of food our group ordered,” Malin-Mayor said.
Kaoroptham said that although she did not plan to hire more sushi chefs, she planned to address the slow food preparation times through other measures, such as dividing sushi preparers into two groups so that one exclusively makes classic rolls while the other makes special rolls. She said this specialization will likely increase the serving speed.
Of 25 students interviewed, five said they have been to the restaurant. All but one said they had an overall positive reviews about the place.
Hannah Yang ’18 said she highly recommends the place after going with a group of 10. She said they ordered multiple rounds did not mind that the service was not particularly fast.
Kaoroptham said that, despite the popularity of the all-you-can-eat option, the restaurant would not compromise the quality of the food. Fresh seafood is shipped to the restaurant every three to four days from New York City or Boston, Kaoroptham added.
Riri Bong, the manager of Sushi Mizu, another all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, said Anaya Sushi has diverted away from her restaurant some loyal customers who had previously celebrated birthdays and graduations at Sushi Mizu. But Bong said Sushi Mizu is still different from Anaya Sushi, as the former offers Hibachi options that the new restaurant does not have.
“Next September, we will have 15 new special rolls,” said Bong. “And part of the reason is to respond to the new competition.”