Japanese cuisine comes to Lake Lily

Maitland gets new cuisine

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  • | 9:02 a.m. March 9, 2011
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Hector Ponce, right, partner member of Ran-Getsu, and Takashi Kikuchi, general manager, pose inside the unfinished restaurant at the Village at Lake Lily.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Hector Ponce, right, partner member of Ran-Getsu, and Takashi Kikuchi, general manager, pose inside the unfinished restaurant at the Village at Lake Lily.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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The sounds of chainsaws and hammering will soon be replaced by the sizzles of kobe beef and frying tempura on the corner of Lake Lily Drive and Orlando Avenue.

This 6,000-square-foot restaurant, located in the Village at Lake Lily in Maitland, is the start of a Ran-Getsu chain, which hopes to successfully expand throughout the state.

“We’re going to refine and redefine Japanese cuisine,” partner member of Ran-Getsu Hector Ponce said. “We will have everything from the rawness of sushi to the well-doneness of steak.”

Although Ran-Getsu recently closed its first Florida restaurant on International Drive, it hopes to bring in more customers this time around by targeting a more community-based area.

“We decided to close the restaurant on I-Drive, because it was in the tourist area, which suffered a lot after 9-11,” Ponce said. “So the strategy was revamped to open a number of smaller, more modern and contemporary Japanese restaurants throughout the state.”

Ponce said the Ran-Getsu company is targeting four or five new restaurants in Florida within the next 10 years, and thought Maitland was a good area to start.

“We choose Maitland because we still love Orlando and wanted to stay in the area, but we wanted a more community-oriented restaurant, smaller in scale, but more urban-modern in taste,” he said.

Verl Emrick, executive director of the city of Maitland’s Community Redevelopment Agency, said the city is really looking forward to the new restaurant.

“It’s a very good restaurant,” Emrick said. “It’s the thing we have all been looking for, for the past three or four years, and we were really elated when they decided to come to us with the Village project.”

Emrick said he is also looking forward to the business the restaurant will bring to the city.

“It gives us another anchor on that end of the seniority district … with Antonio’s on one side of the lake and them (Ran-Getsu) on the other side of the lake, it’s a perfect match,” he said. “It’s awesome; it’s been a long dry spell.”

Diana VanCleave, stylist at iStudio Salons in the Village, said she is also looking forward to the business Ran-Getsu will bring. Her colleague, stylist Gerardo Diaz, said he thinks it’s a good fit for the area.

“It will fit in, because people are looking for quality in Maitland,” Diaz said.

And quality is exactly what Ran-Getsu’s General Manager Takashi Kikuchi is hoping to bring with his 30 years of experience with the company.

“I think that this area is a bit more stable for business compared with I-Drive, which is a bit more up and down since it relies on tourism,” Kikuchi said.

The Maitland Ran-Getsu will offer not only a fine dining experience, complete with an outdoor dining area, but will also stay open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, as it converts into a nightclub-style atmosphere for those looking to enjoy the night life.

“Food is our No. 1 priority, service is our No. 2 and ambience and energy are our others,” Ponce said. “We are targeting young professionals, because they will enjoy coming here.”

Ran-Getsu is planning to open its doors for a soft opening on Saturday, March 26, and a grand opening on April 23, both of which are lucky days on the Japanese calendar.

And for the Ran-Getsu team, they are hoping that these lucky days will be just the start they need to bring a new dining experience to Maitland.

Learn more

Ran-Getsu, a Japanese restaurant and nightclub, will open in the Village at Lake Lily in Maitland on March 26. A grand opening event will be April 23. For employment opportunities with Ran-Getsu, visit www.RanGetsu.com