Japanese restaurant to join Brunswick dining choices

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BRUNSWICK — Japanese cuisine and sushi – a conspicuous absence in Brunswick’s culinary scene – will soon be available downtown.

Cuong Ly, who owns the China Rose on Bath Road as well as the China Rose and Miyako Japanese restaurants in Freeport, plans to open a new restaurant at 72 Maine St.

Ly, who on Tuesday secured a liquor license from the Town Council, will call the establishment Little Tokyo Restaurant. Little Tokyo will fill the space formerly occupied by Cyberland, a video game parlor that went of business in April. Little Tokyo’s next-door neighbor will be Gelato Fiasco, a hot-spot for Bowdoin College students. Ly’s restaurant will likely draw a similar crowd, along with residents weary of travelling south for Japanese fare.

Ly’s Miyako in Freeport is the now closest Japanese restaurant to Brunswick. 

“We know the economy is slow,” Ly told the council Tuesday. “But there’s construction here … we’ve done our market research. … I’d like to take the opportunity to become the only Japanese restaurant in town.”

Brunswick has several ethnic restaurants, including three serving Thai food, an Indian restaurant and a German restaurant. It has never had a Japanese restaurant. 

Ly fled communist Vietnam about 30 years ago. In addition to running three successful restaurants, he was also the subject of attention in 2006 when armed state game wardens seized 10 exotic koi on display in fish tanks at the China Rose in Freeport. The koi were eventually returned after Ly sued the state. The story grabbed national attention and appeared in The New York Times.

The addition of Little Tokyo wasn’t the only restaurant news this week. Scarlet Begonias made its move into the $23.5 million Maine Street Station project official Tuesday, when the council granted the business a liquor license.

Scarlet Begonias will be moving from 212 Maine St. to 16 Station Ave. It’s new space will be directly below the Town Council meeting chambers.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net