SAN FRANCISCO — Mums, Home of Shabu Shabu, a legacy business in Japantown, has closed its doors.

Since 1979, the restaurant has been part of the hotel on the corner of Sutter and Buchanan streets. The hotel has gone through name changes — Kyoto Inn, Miyako Inn, Hotel Tomo, Buchanan Hotel and, currently, Kimpton Hotel Enso — and the restaurant, originally called Café Mums, has been known simply as Mums since 1998.

The original owner was Osaka native Shinji Makigano. Isidore Tam, an immigrant from Hong Kong, started out as a part-time dishwasher while attending culinary school and working a second job. Under Makigano’s mentorship, Tam eventually became the owner.

Mums served both Japanese and American cuisines and was one of the first restaurants in the Bay Area to serve shabu-shabu, which is now found throughout the region.

The Tam family recently posted the following message to its loyal customers: “With a heavy heart, we are here to say goodbye. Mums – Home of Shabu Shabu will be closing business on Sunday, April 2, after the completion of breakfast service. After decades of operations, our family has decided to officially retire and move on from our long run; it has been an amazing journey.

“We achieved the San Francisco Legacy Business milestone right before the COVID pandemic shut down. We have the community to thank for their support and recognition in our achievements. Spanning generations, we remained dedicated to Japantown. We have celebrated with you, cried with you and everything in between! We will cherish all the moments we have had and hold on to the history and legacy. 

“Our family appreciation goes beyond words. Our love for food, and connections with people will live on. We loved meeting the guests of the hotel from all over the world, the locals that always come and order the same thing every week and all the families that grew with us. Japantown is the best community in San Francisco to have been a part of all these years.

“This little corner has served so many people and it will always have a place in our hearts. Although this is the end of an era, Mums will always be a part of us and we’d love to keep in touch. Please come out to support, thank the Tam family and enjoy breakfast one last time.”

Mums is one of several family-owned Japantown businesses that have closed in recent years. One of them, Benkyodo, which specialized in mochi and manju, was established by the Okamura family in 1906 and shut down last year.

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