Blog - History
Years ago, expanding our business to multiple locations within the Fox Cities was just a dream and a goal. When we had the fire at the Appleton Nakashima of Japan, we were completely devastated and we didn’t even know if we were capable of reopening. Our hopes of expanding turned into wishful thinking. Our focus was only on rebuilding a business that will provide for our family. When we reopened Nakashima of Japan, we were blindsided by the increase of business and were very thankful for our loyal customers that came back. We soon looked at that fire as a complete “blessing in disguise.”
With the success of Nakashima of Japan, our dream of expanding turned from just a thought to a goal that we were going to accomplish. Years later, we finally had the opportunity to pursue our goal and open a sister restaurant in downtown Appleton.
We always thought that we would continue the “Nakashima of Japan” name for this new location since we wanted to provide the same menus with just the addition of yakiniku, but we wanted to remember my grandfather, Katsuyo, who passed away during the planning of this new restaurant. Even though we named it after my grandfather, the name “Katsuyo” has been a popular name in the Nakashima Family. My late great-grandmother also carried this name and as well as it being my sister’s middle name. So it is very meaningful to my family and me.
Well that’s the first part of the name, then we added on “Ya” because it translates to house or restaurant. In Japan, it’s common for restaurants to add “Ya” at the end of the name. We wanted to carry on the Japanese tradition and complete the name as “Katsu-Ya.” In translation, we welcome our guests to “Katsu’s House!” So we didn’t name the new location “Katsu-Ya of Japan” just to confuse our guests! We chose this name to represent the Nakashima Family!
Tim and Lisa take a moment to give you an inside look at Nakashima of Japan as well as Katsu-Ya of Japan. Please enjoy!
Most sushi chefs learn from other experienced and respected sushi chefs in Japan. Cullinary school is an option but experience definitely looks better on a résumé. Typically one would start working in a sushi restaurant as a dish washer (for example) and move their way up or even just start as a prep-guy for the head sushi chef and they learn more as the months and years go by. It takes a lifetime to master.
The chefs here have over 30 years of experience and most of our chefs are right from Japan from either Tokyo or Fukuoka.
Have any other questions about our heritage or what goes into the delicate art of making sushi? Please let us know and we'd be happy to answer!