Two Johnson County Japanese restaurants close. More Penn Stations for KC?

Kaiyo operated in Leawood for nearly nine years.
Kaiyo operated in Leawood for nearly nine years. The Kansas City Star

▪ Johnson County has lost two Japanese restaurants.

Kaiyo Authentic Japanese Restaurant recently closed in Camelot Court after nearly nine years of operations at 4308 W. 119th St., Leawood.

David Loo, who owned the restaurant with his wife Karen Ming, said he has been on a month-to-month lease for the last five years and now his landlord wanted the location for another tenant. Officials with Camelot Court couldn’t be reached for comment.

“I miss my regular customers. They are saying ‘Where am I going to get good sushi?’ ” Loo said.

So Loo is expanding his offerings at his sushi operation in Cosentino’s Market Downtown at 10 E. 13th St. in the Power & Light District.

Sushi Gin Japanese Cuisine recently closed after nearly 20 years in a 2,957-square-foot space in the 96 & Nall Shoppes at 9559 Nall Ave., Overland Park. The owners did not return phone calls.

▪ Penn Station East Coast Subs, a fast casual chain specializing in Philadelphia cheesesteak sub sandwiches, said it is targeting Kansas City for expansion, as well as Dallas and Atlanta.

The company currently has one area location at 8667 W. 135th St. in Overland Park, along with two locations in the Dallas area and two locations in the Atlanta area. It hopes to open a total of 44 stores in the Kansas City metro, 35 stores in Dallas and 36 stores in Atlanta over the next five years.

But the Milford, Ohio-based company had previously announced area expansion plans in mid-2011, saying they wanted to open 25 stores in the metro in five years. Only the Overland Park location opened.

Jim and Aileen Wilkins own that location and would like to open more to increase brand awareness in the market.

“We believe in the product, we love the product. They see Kansas City as a critical hub for expansion in the Heartland,” said Jim Wilkins.

A company spokeswoman said in a statement: “We think Kansas City will be a premier market for Penn Station East Coast Subs. We were looking to put 25 stores in place by the end of 2015, but after opening one at the end of 2011, we took a closer look at the market and possible locations and have extended our plan to hopefully be at 44 stores by 2020.”

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