In Tokyo’s Chuo Ward lies a restaurant that refuses service to anyone who smells like cigarette smoke. That does not only apply to smokers either. If you’re piggy-backing the scent of a friend who smokes or just happened to be in a smokey bar prior to visiting, then no curry for you.
In front of Kyobashiya Curry customers are greeted with a large poster laying down the law of the land.
“Those smelling of tobacco will not be able to enter.”
The finer print also explains that while the rule is primarily for smokers, it also applies to anyone with any aggressive smell such as cologne. Also, if someone enters without a smell but ducks out for a cigarette part-way through and then re-enters, they and every member of their party must pay a 3,000 yen nuisance fee.
It’s a rather brash message by Japanese standards, but manager Tomoyo Yukino is convinced it is for the greater good. In order for his customers to enjoy his curry to the fullest, they must be able to savor the aroma of curry spices in their purest form.
Yukino says he has to refuse 30 or more people a month. While some would-be customers comply without incident, Yukino certainly does get yelled at a lot. Still, it’s a price he’s willing to pay to preserve the atmosphere of his restaurant.
It doesn’t seem to be hurting business either, despite the draconian restrictions. On restaurant review site Retty it’s received a five-star average rating, on Facebook it has 4.4 stars on average, and on Tabelog it’s gotten a more modest but still upstanding 3.5 stars out of five.
Here’s what some commenters had to say:
“It’s a good place to go if you’re a masochist.” “I think it gives people a heightened expectation of what the food is going to taste like.” “It’s reasonable. He has a right to choose his customers.” “That’s a good restaurant. Too bad I can’t go because it’s too far away.” “They have the freedom to do what they want. But…I don’t know if it will last.”
It is an interesting strategy. On one hand, as a comment suggested, it does seem to play up the quality Kyobashiya’s food in people’s minds, which really could backfire on them in the end. On the other hand, in the highly competitive world of curry restaurants, they certainly have found a way to stand out from the herd.
Restaurant information Kyobashiya Curry / 京橋屋カレー 2F Sennari Building, 3-4-3 Kyobashi, Chuo, Tokyo 東京中央区京橋3−4−3千成ビル2F Open Mon to Fri (11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Monday-Friday), noon to 3:00 p.m. (Saturday-Sunday)
Sources: Nifty via My Game News Flash, Tabelog, Retty, Facebook/Kyobashi Curry
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