As some of you may know, December 18th was the last day of business for one of Culver City’s most unique and beloved eateries. Much has been said about Tokyo 7-7, a small shop pigeoned-holed by parking structures and the burgeoning classier eateries of downtown Culver. It is an odd pastiche of a diner to say the least: serving both Japanese comfort foods as well as American greasy spoon mainstays at prices that echo a time when Members Only jackets were worn without a trace of irony. Tokyo 7-7’s other-worldy nostalgia lasted 27 years with compromising to the pressures of a changing world. Not bad for a place where the waitresses total checks on abacuses and sell packs of cigarettes from the behind the counter between slinging plates of spam and eggs.
A testament to it’s impact over the years, the final service at Tokyo 7-7 was more crowded with customers than it probably had ever been in it’s history. It is a rare occasion when a diner can actually be described as standing room only. Nevertheless people crammed inside as if it were a Who concert, trying to score one last delicious Hawaiian Royale before mitigating their taste buds to Rutt’s Cafe less flavorful facsimile available down the street. When I finally found empty seat at the wood-paneled counter I ordered what I knew I would miss most, the Tokyo 7-7 Special: char siu pork, miso soup, pickled cucumber, a sweet egg omelette and sticky rice. It may not be best version in town, but like everything else here it’s prepared with quality and consistency. After all, few things can match the satisfaction provided by good simple food served without pomp or pretense, and that is what Tokyo 7-7 is all about. I hope owners Eju and Kazuko Ozawa enjoy their well-deserved retirement after serving so many loyal fans over the years. That said, it’ll be tough finding a better cure for a hangover than a dab of their homemade wasabi mustard. Perhaps they’ll let me have the recipe. In the meantime, you’ll find me over at George’s Coffee Shop helping carry on a legacy.
Tokyo 7-7 Coffee Shop
3839 Main St
Culver City, CA 90232