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MF Buckhead going through ‘major reorganization’

Alex (left) and Chris Kinjo at MF Sushibar (AJC Staff)

Alex (left) and Chris Kinjo at MF Sushibar (AJC Staff)

Lately, there’s been a great deal of speculation online and in social media about the future of MF Buckhead.

MF Buckhead is the much larger and grander version of the original MF Sushibar, which closed in last November, its owners filing bankruptcy a few days later. At the time, co-owner Chris Kinjo told John Kessler that MF Sushibar closed because of the declining area, saying that it was unrelated to tax issues. Kinjo said, “No matter what happens, there will always be an MF in Atlanta.”

This week, Kinjo told John Kessler that MF Buckhead is going through a “major reorganization” and “for now we’re open.”

I also connected with Sa Kinjo, General Manager at MF Buckhead and co-owner with her cousins Chris and Alex. When asked about the possibility of MF Buckhead closing, she said, “Not at all. We are in the process of restructuring, but that shouldn’t affect our operating the restaurant.”

Sa indicated that allegations of IRS interference are “entirely false. There’s no denying that we have problems with back taxes but that’s being worked through.”

According to Sa, the group has found that the current space near Lenox Square is too large for the restaurant to be profitable. They are working with the Terminus building, where the restaurant is housed, to “take some space back.” She said, “We are working with the landlord to have us stay where we are. We would only close our current location if we can’t come to an agreement.” Also as a part of the restructuring, the Kinjo brothers are in the process of bringing on a business partner.

There have been other reports that MF Buckhead will move to another Buckhead location. Sa told me that the have not signed any contracts, but are researching three alternate spaces so that they will be able to “move fast” if an agreement can’t be reached with Terminus.

The group also continues to pursue the possibility of  opening MF locations in Miami and New York.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

19 comments Add your comment

Sushi Lover

January 19th, 2012
2:58 pm

All we want is a centrally located, nicely decorated, no-frills, great quality, consistent sushi restaurant. And preferably a couple of these to choose from. Why so hard, Atlanta? Why?

bill

January 19th, 2012
3:43 pm

Sushi Lover, try taka sushi in buckhead. hits all of the points you require

jack trent

January 19th, 2012
4:03 pm

what a joke! they had to throw in the last qoute “The group also continues to pursue the possibility of opening MF locations in Miami and New York.” wtf?? the egos of these owners are pathetic. if they can’t reach a deal with the terminus? they should change their name to geisha house 2.0 *(free rent), if mf buckhead closes they are broke, so they need to just keep their mouth shut and stop talking about relocating. wasn’t nam suppose to relocate??

isochronous

January 19th, 2012
4:43 pm

Sushi Lover, “Sushi House Hayakawa” on Buford highway is all of those things except centrally located. The quality, however, is worth the drive (at least in my opinion) and the prices are better than at Taka sushi.

Tammy

January 19th, 2012
4:50 pm

There’s always RuSans…and then there’s also the requisite cramping of the stomach.

Rodney

January 20th, 2012
8:26 am

Agree with the Taka suggestion – also Starfish Sushi on P’tree Road near Buckhead. Both are pricey but I’ve had a long held rule that sushi shouldn’t be cheap, considering.

I’ve had many meals at MF, both the old location and Buckhead and while the sushi is good, it has always seemed to be more of a “be seen and get a roll place” than a “sushi place”, if that makes sense. As I get older I appreciate less of the hip-ness and more of the tasty-ness of restos.

I really do hope they work it out and get settled.

Urbanist

January 20th, 2012
9:47 am

Haha…Amazing! What a bunch of dbags. First, MF sushi is mediocre at best, as far as sushi is concerned. The thought that these guys could compete in a place like Miami or NYC is laughable at best. Second, these guys are the epitome of Atlanta dbags. They have “issues with back-taxes”, so they’ve been effectively running a business without paying their due to the IRS – which one could likely assume that if they were running a legitimate business, it wouldn’t be profitable. So, what you have is a bunch of guys who are running an unprofitable business, but bouncing around town like they’re celebrities. Classis Atlanta dbaggery…

Jane Garvey

January 20th, 2012
12:02 pm

Try Sushi House Hayakawa on Buford Hwy. for one and Waraku in Suwanee–ok the latter a bit of a trip, but you’ll find mostly area Japanese in there, proving its worth in the genre.

J

Edward

January 20th, 2012
2:39 pm

Starfish is a bit pricey, but as said, you get what you pay for.

Sander

January 20th, 2012
3:41 pm

Tomo is great as noted in Kessler’s spot-on review just published. Some may complain about the prices at places like MF and Tomo but there are some things you should economize on and raw fish isn’t one of them. I do like MF as well but that real estate will drag them under.

Chad

January 20th, 2012
7:59 pm

Why does everyone seem to forget about Nakato? Centrally located, no-frills, great quality, consistent sushi restaurant that’s been in good standing for close to 40 years in Atlanta.

Metallica Rules

January 22nd, 2012
1:25 pm

Nakato and the Buford Hwy places rock and they are close to some cool strip clubs also which have good food!

CC

January 22nd, 2012
2:21 pm

They also owe over $30K in unpaid rent from the original location before they skipped out.

NativeAtlantan

January 22nd, 2012
3:09 pm

Fish is meant to be cooked. This is Atlanta. A good fried seafood place in Buckhead would outdraw a place like MF any night.

tom brady

January 22nd, 2012
3:31 pm

hashiguchi at shops around lenox is excellent. went last month for the first time and was shocked that hadn’t found it before. Taka and mf buckhead were my previous spots but now hashiguchi has taken first prize in buckhead for me

BIG NICK

January 22nd, 2012
4:20 pm

Turn MF into a “rub-n-tug” and move it to Chambodia, right after the owners go to prison for tax evasion.

Why....

January 22nd, 2012
4:40 pm

is there a set of people in this town like “NativeAtlantan” who need to say the equivalent of “hey, we’re rednecks here anyway” to any story like this? I recall the same type of comments (even by some local promoters of the area) when the Thrashers left. I’m a native Atlantan and would prefer to live in a place with a little more variety than Montgomery, Alabama.

Instead of the “Delta is ready when you are” line that people around here like to hand out to people they deem insufficiently loyal to Atlanta circa 1970, how about “Delta Connection is ready when you are” for them? They have lots of convenient flights to places like Jackson, Mississippi and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Urbanist

January 23rd, 2012
11:35 am

This is Atlanta, and many of the “native Atlantans” are fraught with NIMBY’ism, and would prefer this place stay a small-time city of sticks and trailers than grow into the city it could/should be. This is Atlanta’s biggest problem – the small percentage of people that want to change the city, do something good, innovative, and enduring, make some progress, and build a city around that are constantly fighting against a bunch of hicks who just want good ol’ fried catfish and grits on their lunch break from their back-office, non-impactful jobs. The thing is, the forces of progress are uncontrollable, so Atlanta will either get it’s act together and be something real, or turn into the next Detroit.

Mike

January 24th, 2012
10:59 am

Urbanist, I’ve never known a native Atlantan that wasn’t proud of the city and wanted it to grow. From the day John C. Calhoun said that the best place for a railroad town was a few miles west of Decatur, Atlanta has been dreaming big. How do you think we got the Olympics, or the world’s busiest airport?

For me, what screwed up downtown was the whole John Portman city-of-tomorrow that had no streetscape. You parked in an underground lot and never went outside. Walking down the street past the Merchandise Mart or one of the big hotels and you may as well be in an abandoned city.