An Anna Miller’s waitress at the Tokyo Takanawa branch Photo: PR Times
business

After 40 years, the final Anna Miller’s cafe in Japan closing down

37 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

In 1973, Japanese confectionary company Imuraya opened Japan’s first branch of Anna Miller’s. Though the restaurant had started out in Hawaii, it really took off in the Tokyo area, expanding to 25 different locations serving American-style cafe fare and a mouthwatering lineup of pies.

Now, 40 years later, there’s only one Anna Miller’s left in Japan, and it’s just announce that it’s closing.

Screen-Shot-2022-06-15-at-6.49.58.png

▼ The first Japanese Anna Miller’s, located in Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood

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Zoom in on the above photo, and you’ll see that the sign at the entrance says “Wait for your waitress.” Odds are it was put there to avoid confusion, since although many casual restaurants in Japan allow customers to just come on in and claim any unoccupied table, Anna Miller’s followed the American style of having servers guide customers to a seat. The mention of a waitress is fitting, though, because as loved as Anna Miller’s pies are among fans, the restaurant is just as well-known for its iconic waitress uniforms, which have appeared as homages and parodies in numerous anime, manga and video game series.

On Tuesday, Imuraya announced that its last remaining Anna Miller’s branch, located in Tokyo’s Takanawa neighborhood, will be permanently closing this summer. The cafe is located inside the Wing Takanawa shopping center, but the complex is scheduled to be demolished as part of a redevelopment project and the tenant businesses are being asked to vacate. Imuraya has no current concrete plans to reopen Anna Miller’s elsewhere, saying that it has been searching for a location as attractive as Wing Takanawa, where it’s been since 1983. That’s going to be tough to find, seeing as how the shopping center is located directly across the street from the entrance to Shinagawa Station, one of the most heavily trafficked train stations in Tokyo, and is even in a spot where pedestrians can easily see the restaurant from outside the complex at street-level.

So it’s looking like Aug 31, the last day the Takanawa branch will be open, will also probably be the last day for the Anna Miller’s chain in Japan, a prospect that’s filled Japanese Twitter users with sadness, as shown by reactions such as:

“Say it aint so!”

“Seriously hoping you can reopen somewhere else!”

“Anna Miller’s forever!”

“Gonna go as often as I can while they’re still open.”

“I used to go to their [Yokohama] branch when I worked nearby, and when I clocked out early I’d buy three slices of pie, take them home, and eat them all myself.”

“I ordered their dark cherry pie every time I are there.”

“Thank you for everything over all the years.”

The Takanawa closure will make the Anna Miller’s in Aiea, Hawaii, the last restaurant in the world to bear the name, but since it’s a separate company from the Imuraya-managed Japanese chain, this really is the end of an era. There is a bit of a silver lining, though, in that Imuraya is looking into continuing the brand’s dessert legacy by selling Anna Miller’s pies online in the future, and considering how Imuraya has done with other store-sold sweets, we’ve got high expectations.

Source: PR Times, Imuraya, Twitter/@IMURAYA_DM

Images: PR Times

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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Lived in Tokyo for 20 years, but never noticed it.

Ho hum!

0 ( +13 / -13 )

As an American who spent much of my childhood in Japan and then returned in the early 90s as an adult, there is a tinge of sadness to this.

Anna Miller's was a rare taste of America in Japan back in the Showa era. And any American that lived in the Kanto area back in those days can tell you that going to Anna Miller's for a piece of American-style pie was such a treat.

Just as going to Denny's in the '70s and having pigs in the blanket was a taste of home.

Even in the early '90s, I remember going to the Anna Miller's in Hiroo and enjoying every bite of one of their pies.

Like so many other things, Anna Miller's was a product of its time, but for those like me who lived in Japan all of those years ago, there is a little sadness to see it go.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I’ll bet that a cup of coffee there just can’t compete with Japan’s fast food outlets.

The Japanese can’t afford to pay big bucks as they used to…

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Never heard of it.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Love the old photo with the food halls always in the basement of office buildings

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A friend in the 90s was really turned on by the waitress uniforms.

The last time I was there was their Shinagawa branch about 5 years ago, and the pie was dee--lish! Used to go to the Shibuya one back in the day.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

As an American who spent much of my childhood in Japan and then returned in the early 90s as an adult, there is a tinge of sadness to this.

Anna Miller's was a rare taste of America in Japan back in the Showa era. And any American that lived in the Kanto area back in those days can tell you that going to Anna Miller's for a piece of American-style pie was such a treat.

Just as going to Denny's in the '70s and having pigs in the blanket was a taste of home.

Even in the early '90s, I remember going to the Anna Miller's in Hiroo and enjoying every bite of one of their pies.

Like so many other things, Anna Miller's was a product of its time, but for those like me who lived in Japan all of those years ago, there is a little sadness to see it go.

Never heard of them before. What kind of pies of food did they serve? They still have a menu or webpage?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

BertieWoosterToday  07:22 am JST

Lived in Tokyo for 20 years, but never noticed it.

The one in Shinagawa was right across the street on the second floor. It was pretty hard to miss.

It was like an old Perkins menu, bass4funk, without Tiger Woods.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@bass4funk,

Never heard of them before. What kind of pies of food did they serve? They still have a menu or webpage?

Here ya go.

https://www.annamillersrestaurant.jp/index_e.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Never been there but would love to visit it before it's gone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Heading to the Takanawa branch today!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Mark

Never been there but would love to visit it before it's gone.

It's a 5 minute walk from Shinagawa Station.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I usually ordered their Reuben sandwich, a slice of pie and a cup of coffee at their Akasaka store years ago.

Cherry, pecan, Dutch Apple, etc. Most of their pies were good.

Sad to see them go.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I never ate at Anna Miller's though often walked by the Akasaka branch. The article doesn't mention the Japanese male fetish for Ann Miller waitress uniforms back in the day. Like everything else, it appears to be replaced over time....soon enough there was a Hooters across the street in Akasaka though they've now both closed down.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

zones2surfToday  07:44 am JST

As an American who spent much of my childhood in Japan and then returned in the early 90s as an adult, there is a tinge of sadness to this.

Anna Miller's was a rare taste of America in Japan back in the Showa era. And any American that lived in the Kanto area back in those days can tell you that going to Anna Miller's for a piece of American-style pie was such a treat.

Just as going to Denny's in the '70s and having pigs in the blanket was a taste of home.

This is the most interesting part of this article and comments to me.

Pigs in the blanket---I gave up going to Denny's in Japan because everything is like the other family restaurants, and nothing seems to resemble the US version of a breakfast menu, apart from the coffee.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wish they would have had Kansai branches. Then again, if they did, I'd probably be quite sad at their closing.

They sound a bit like Marie Callender's, a pie-centric restaurant chain in the US.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The pancakes look good - wish I had the opportunity to eat them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

never heard abt them so no issue.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

In addition to Aoyama, where I worked, they also had a branch not too far from my home, across the street from the Komazawa Olympic Park. Cute waitresses and the choice of at least a dozen varieties of pies to accompany my coffee. Thanks for the memories!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Me too. Never heard of it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Uniforms look like something out of The Waltons meets Hooters. I imagine the only thing redder than the cherry pies are the necks that go in there.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@zones2surf

Thanks! Man, those pies look fabulous, wish I could have gone there.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Pies? Pies? and more pies.... It was the Hooters of its day.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Never heard of it.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Had no idea it was a famous chain. Went past one several times, guess I missed out.

but now I know where the idea for this outfit comes from in AV. It seems to show up for many restaurant themed ones lol, guess it’s a generational thing for the directors

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It really points out the real old timers here and those that say they are!

"The never heard of them" says a lot if one was living in Kanto area.

Actually even if you just lived in Japan, as someone mentioned the Uniforms were famous with Japanese men and anyone living here is the 90s even earlier 2000s should at least have known that.

I miss the Hiroo one, I never lived anywhere near it but would head down there to meet my old friends have a Key lime pie and bottomless cup of coffee something very few places did back then.

Sadly Anna in Hiroo closed a long time ago and I am literally the last one still standing as all the rest of the gang have long ago left this world.

Now the last Anna, good thing my old pal Pete passed on several years ago, he sure loved the T-bone steak (they stopped selling that a long time ago)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think there was one in Motomachi back in the day. Walked past it a lot on my way to the nightclubs. Never went inside. Doubt there'll be many tears.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

zones2surf

Here ya go.

https://www.annamillersrestaurant.jp/index_e.html

Thanks for the link. It looks (looked) awesome. In a way, I'm glad they didn't have any locations in Kansai. I'd definitely miss the hell out of them after they closed.

But, now those pics have me jonesing for some pie, especially coconut custard or banana cream. I'm gonna have to do some local research. If anybody has any recommendations in Kansai, especially Osaka/Kyoto, please post them in this thread.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They were in Shibuya tucked away in Spain zaka. Arby’s used to be where Tsutaya/Starbucks is now across the scrambled intersection. America’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nice cups!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

They had several Anna Miller's in Tokyo I went to when I was a kid in the 80s and early 90s. They closed one by one, and only Takanawa remained. If you're going to open a new one, try in front of Shinjuku Station, the most trafficked train station in the world! Obvious! (I live in Shinjuku)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

quercetumToday  03:05 pm JST

They were in Shibuya tucked away in Spain zaka. Arby’s used to be where Tsutaya/Starbucks is now across the scrambled intersection. America’s Roast Beef, Yes Sir!

Bring Arby's back.

They got a Wagyu burger in the States now.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

That's a shame. I must have walked by here dozens of times without noticing. Looks like I'll never get the chance to go now.

And to be sure, for males of a certain age, the uniforms are as well known as their food, if not more so. The Hooters uniforms of their day. (What is it with orange and white?)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think I came here a couple of times and I suppose the familiar sight will be missed. I wonder what they will replace the Wing complex with.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And to be sure, for males of a certain age, the uniforms are as well known as their food, if not more so. The Hooters uniforms of their day. (What is it with orange and white?)

That uniform looks uncomfortable.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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