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It’s been about ten years since I inherited this restaurant from my dead grandpa.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s a flower of the city, but at the very least, it’s within the neighborhood of the number one growing city’s business district.
From there, it wouldn’t even take you three minutes by foot to reach the shopping district.
One thing to note about the shopping district is that there are a variety of restaurants lined up there. Every day during lunchtime, all the salarymen and office ladies wanting lunch rush towards the building closest to the entrance of this shopping district. A building with three floors above ground and one floor below. One floor below a building with an eye-catching sign with a winged dog. That’s where my restaurant is.
My restaurant’s name is the ‘Western Style Cathouse*.’ It had an unusual black oak door with a bra.s.s, vintage handle. That door with a beckoning cat with one front leg raised drawn on it was like a sign.
My grandpa, who between dogs and cats would absolutely choose cats, started this restaurant about fifty years ago, and I, who if you gave the choice would choose dogs, inherited
the shop from him. In this shopping district, this place would be considered an old one.
Even though I say that, our western style menu has a very splendid selection. In the menu that that has been increasing from grandpa’s time to now there are a lot of dishes that are obviously not western style.
In the past, around the time I got out of college and I started to help out around the restaurant, I asked my grandpa why it turned out that way. Grandpa wasn’t born in j.a.pan but instead the mainland. Around the time the war was recently over, Grandpa, who had no relatives whatsoever, came to j.a.pan with nothing but the clothes on his back. I don’t know if it was the truth or not but he was someone with no ties to the past. Because of that, my grandpa who somehow or other started to become more and more j.a.panese stressed this to me.
“Western style food means that it’s food that came from the other side of the ocean, right? In other words, if it was never in j.a.pan to begin with, you could call it all western style food. And well, there’s you know that.
that. It doesn’t matter what a restaurant decides to call what kind of restaurant they are. As long as their food is good then it’s fine.”
By the way, the daily special on that day’s lunch menu was j.a.panese braised pork belly**. My grandfather set aside some of the braised pork belly we made for today, and then heartily piled the fatty, sweet cuts of meat on a bowl of rice while he said that. Because of that I remember that I thought ‘so that’s how it is’ and was deeply convinced without thinking.
…Well because of that, we normally put dishes that aren’t western style in our menu for fun. Of course, Grandpa’s specialty and mine are western style dishes.
Also, even then we have quite the good reputation you know. The flavor of the food that grandpa prepares is, of course, catered towards the appet.i.tes of hungry, young people with our all-you-can-eat rice, bread and soup. By the way, the priciest thing on the menu is only 1000 yen simply because that’s how my grandpa and I do things. Thankfully, it’s a battlefield with all of the nearby salarymen during the day on weekdays, the salarymen coming home from work, and
work, and the poor students who see the all-you-can-eat bread and rice, I make enough profit for myself to eat without worries even with all the expenses.
This is- once my grandpa’s restaurant- now my restaurant, The Western Style Cathouse. Business hours are 11:00 to 15:00 for lunchtime and 17:00 to 21:00 for dinner time. We’re closed on the two days of the weekend due to the lack of office workers in the business district. The number of tables is ten, and especially when it’s crowded, people ask others to share a table with them. Well, I think that about covers it. If I had to say so myself, this was an average restaurant that you could find anywhere.
…Aah, but there’s one thing. There’s one thing that other restaurants don’t have.
One time a week, every Sat.u.r.day. The Western Style Cathouse has a special sale. Huh? Isn’t the restaurant supposed to be closed on Sat.u.r.days? That’s right. That’s why it’s a special sale. We can’t have customers from ‘this side’ come in during this special sale so superficially the restaurant is closed. If not, then I could see a lot of troubling things happening. Even though I say that, I don’t really know don’t really know the specifics. It was about thirty years ago, around the time I just got into elementary school, that my grandpa started this special sale. He probably knew a lot, my grandpa. Before he could tell me the details, he suddenly went and pa.s.sed on.
Well, a while back he said, “When I die, I’m giving the restaurant to you. That’s why when I’m dead, I want you to be the one next to continue this special sale,” and forced me into this. Even now, I still continue doing this special sale, and I’m not really curious as to what kind of customer comes on Sat.u.r.day or what kind of place is it on the other side. This isn’t one of grandpa’s sayings, but a restaurant’s job is to put out delicious food. A customer comes in, I give that customer his food. That customer thinks the food is delicious and happily pays. Just that is enough. Whether the customer comes from ‘this side’ or ‘that side’ doesn’t matter.
Because of that, The Western Style Cathouse had one more name attached to it.
‘The Other World Dining Hall.’
That’s the one other name that ‘those on the other side’ call this place.