Commerce, and chamber president Richard Luehrs said he was surprised
when he noticed the restaurant was closed following the weekend
"It was a shock to us," Luehrs said.
The Newport Beach restaurant was launched by Jeremy Umland, who
opened the first Ozumo restaurant near San Francisco's waterfront.
Umland, who played baseball in Japan before working in that county as
an investment banker, said in January that he envisioned Ozumo as a
place for authentic Japanese cuisine. The restaurant served sushi,
grilled robata dishes and had a lengthy sake list.
The restaurant's ideal of emulating Japanese culture went beyond
the culinary traditions of Japan. Restaurant employees were trained
to greet diners in Japanese and follow Japanese business customs.
The restaurant's concept, successful in San Francisco, did not
work in Newport Beach, said Nina Robinson, vice president of
marketing for the Irvine Co.'s retail properties.
Calls to Ozumo's San Francisco restaurant were not returned
Thursday. Rams said the Irvine Co. has not yet signed a new tenant
for the restaurant's space.
* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be
reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at