By Michael Smith

As Ryuu Japanese Steak House prepares to enter its seventh year at Westfield Brandon Mall, owner Robert Smith said his mission remains the same—to provide great food in a fun and inviting atmosphere.

Ryuu, which means “dragon” in Japanese, is best known for its Teppanyaki dinner. Teppanyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food. At Ryuu, diners enjoy fresh vegetables, choice-cut meats, succulent seafood and the performance artistry of Teppanyaki chefs who masterfully chop and dice the food, then set the hibachi grill aflame in the blink of an eye.

In addition to the Teppan tables, which can seat up to 22 people, the restaurant also has booths and an extended bar area. It offers happy hour all day, every day, including 2-for-1 drafts.

Ryuu also features an extensive sushi menu. Smith said the more popular sushi rolls are the Volcano Roll and the Double J Roll.

Smith said he has enjoyed the exposure that being located in the mall brings. “We do a lot of advertising, but we get people who say, ‘We never even knew you existed until we came to the mall.’ ”

Smith, a New York native, estimates that 80 to 85 percent of his customers are regulars who have been coming to the restaurant for years, including some who come every week.

A hands-on owner, Smith can be found working in the restaurant most days. He said his favorite thing about his job is getting to meet people and talk with them, and seeing his customers’ kids grow up.

“I have children who have been coming since they were babies and to see them go from toddlers to children is just amazing,” he said.

Smith said it is important to him to support the community that supports him and his restaurant. He has sponsored local baseball teams, donates regularly to New Horizons Group Homes and helps local schools with fundraisers.

Ryuu Japanese Steak House, located across from Panera Bread, is open seven days a week. It serves lunch Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open for dinner Monday-Thursday 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Friday 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 12 Noon-11 p.m., and Sunday 12 Noon-9 p.m.

For information, visit or call 438-5934.

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