Out of all the shops on the main road, Honmachi-dori, Sankatsuya is the most crowded one. The nostalgic scent of the Showa era is awaft and the ‘Town Eatery’ describes it perfectly. Of course you’ll find there some alcohol drinks too.
Established in 1933, this shop has grown with the town of Yaotsu. It has been run by four generations.
Make sure to ask the energetic grandmotherly lady running (fourth generation owner) to tell you the story of Sankatsuya. There is a constant hue of customers yelling ‘grandma’ and she smiles as she moves around, answering each request. She’ll tell you how she married into the eatery in 1960 and her carefree attitude makes it feel like you’ve known her for ages.
“The shop is named ‘Sankatsuya’ which means ‘Three wins’ in Japanese. It means they will win at taste, price and volume.”
The menu lines up in the wall. There are so many things on the menu that you’ll forget you’re in a little eatery in a small town. She boasts, “Everything on the menu is delicious,” but we got her to pick out her favorite three dishes. "Maybe the Paigu, Chinese Noodle Soup and Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl. They’re all best. I can’t rank them.”
Paigu is crispy fried pork back ribs. The Chinese noodle soup have a classic, never changed taste. Pork Cutlet rice bowls are popular everywhere and here you can select the rib or loin parts. The homemade taste is gentle and familiar. But when we asked customers eating there, one recommended the fluffy egg rice bowl and another preferred the omelet rice. I guess it’s true that everything on the menu is delicious!
There is one more thing that makes this place unique. The huge glasses of draft beer. A large mug by the standards of anywhere else is considered to be a medium mug here. You’ll never go thirsty in this joint. There is also an even bigger large mug. Of course it’s the lively grandmother that brings the mugs out to you.
The lady and her husband enjoy traveling. Wherever they go, they buy a lantern and those lanterns decorate the interior of the restaurant. She said reading the place name on the lantern reminds them of their trip and even though the colors of the lantern itself may fade or change because of the sun, the memories in their hearts never fade away.
Yaotsu is a small town. It’s also not rare for customers to get to know each other. It has become commonplace for people who just happened to meet at Sankatsuya to join each other and go out for drinks as the night wears on. The regulars, and of course the grandmother, are all friendly to new customers as well. The conversation jumps right past the normal first-time-meeting formalities with questions like, “Where did you come from?” “Where have you been?” And the conversation is always rounded out with, “There are lots of great things in Yaotsu, take your time to look around.” There are many fans for Yaotsu here.