Tuesday, June 11, 2013

U-Mart: Umami Mart's New Store Within a Store

By Luke Tsai
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Last week, Umami Mart (815 Broadway), Old Oakland’s uber-stylish purveyor of Japanese barware and teaware, announced its newest project: a konbini (or Japanese-style convenience store) that they’ll be setting up in the back section of their shop. As first reported by Inside Scoop, the store-within-a-store, which owners Kayoko Akabori and Yoko Kumano have dubbed U-Mart, is currently still in the planning stages, but is expected to launch with an opening party that’s scheduled for Tuesday, June 25.

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Just like the konbini in Japan, U-Mart will sell a variety of Japanese snacks, candies, condiments, dried goods, cold beverages, and prepared foods. While the final inventory is a work in progress, Akabori told me that some of the products they would like to carry include Kewpie mayonnaise; taberu rayu (chili sesame oil with bits of garlic); koji; a hard-to-find line of instant ramen called Seimen, made by Maruchan; assorted Kit-Kats and senbei (rice crackers); matcha cookies; Every Burger; and — hopefully — two of my personal favorites: Pocari Sweat (a delicious sports drink) and Men’s Pocky (a variety of the popular biscuit sticks, covered in dark chocolate). Prepared foods will include onigiri (rice balls) and Peko Peko bento boxes.

Akabori and Kumano are currently working on finding distributors for these items. For the opening party, tentatively slated for 6-9 p.m. on June 25, KronnerBurger will be on the premises slinging burgers. There will also be drinks by Sutton Cellars and music by DJ Chungtech.

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