Mitsuwa debuts new look in Arlington Heights
Crowds of loyal customers flocked to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights on a rainy Saturday to find a new airy shopping space and entertainment from two celebrities
First, a massive bluefin tuna had a brief but spectacular debut as it was filleted in the renovated foyer of the destination store that features Japanese cuisine and products.
Then, Japanese star and transgender celebrity Ai Haruna performed for fans in a dazzling kimono.
Suburban regulars and visitors from Chicago gave high marks to the first redo of the supermarket since it opened in 1987.
"It just seems super-bright and warm. I like it aesthetically," Grace Cocking of Chicago said while sitting with friends in the busy food court. She said she travels from the city "for the whole experience."
Changes included new lighting and decor, consolidating some departments, a self checkout area, and two new restaurants: the confections shop J-sweets and Toritetsu, a Tokyo-based eatery popular for its yakitori -- flavorful skewered chicken.
Mitsuwa, at 100 E. Algonquin Road, is one of the chain's 11 supermarkets across the U.S. and draws customers from across the Midwest.
Regular Zula Namhai of Schaumburg liked the changes, although "it's a little harder to find things, but I guess it makes sense to put stuff together," she said.
The celebration continues Sunday with a bingo party at noon and ongoing sales.