Brighton is losing one of its downtown restaurant staples.
Sagano Japanese Bistro and Steakhouse is closing on Sunday, the restaurant announced on its Facebook page Wednesday night.
Emily Huot, the restaurant's human resources director, said Thursday there are several reasons they decided to close the Brighton location and focus on four remaining locations in Fenton, Flint, Clarkston and Warren.
"Like every restaurant, there is a lot of inability to secure quality products at reasonable prices and the staffing. It's a plethora of issues that restaurants are facing right now," Huot said.
She said founder and co-owner Shiro "Ino" Inoue and his partners made the decision to close the Brighton location after "a careful evaluation of a totality of circumstances."
She said worker shortages in the restaurant industry made it difficult to secure chefs trained to cook Japanese cuisine.
The restaurant's menu includes hibachi dishes prepared in front of customers, as well as sushi and a variety of other dishes.
"It's a unique skill. A lot of these chefs devote a significant amount of time training," she said. "These aren't just chefs you can run an ad for and have them pop up. They come for the show with the chef. It's the essence of the business model."
She said the Brighton location currently has more than 20 employees.
"We're trying to make this transition as easy as possible. We're segueing staff over to other locations if they are interested," Huot said. "At the Brighton location, it was a distinct pleasure working with the talented staff there. They have persevered under way difficult circumstances."
The building that houses Sagano has a new owner, according city and state records.
A newly created limited-liability corporation called Mill Pond Centennial Building, LLC is listed at the Brighton address, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
A message seeking comment was left with a registered agent named in LARA documents.
Huot said the building sold earlier this week.
She declined to comment on the new owner or what they might have planned for the space.
A farewell to the community
Tim Corrigan, a local businessman who chairs the Brighton Downtown Development Authority, said he learned about the closure on Facebook.
"We have a very vibrant main street, and I don't expect it to be empty for long," Corrigan said. "I'm very sorry to see that they are leaving. I think it was a great stop to go to and they have been a member of our community for a long time."
He said he ate at the restaurant periodically.
"It was something different than other spots in town and the food was always good."
Sagano opened on Main Street in Brighton in 2009 after renovating the building, which previously had three separate store fronts.
Ownership expressed gratitude to the community in Wednesday's Facebook post:
"It is with regret that Sagano of Brighton is informing you that it's last day of operation is Sunday, January 23, 2022. Parting with this exceptional community was not a decision that was made lightly, but unfortunately necessary," the post read.
"Whether it was part of your day to day activities, special occasions or large community events such as Taste of Brighton, Sagano is incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the Brighton community."
Those with gift cards can redeem them at remaining locations, according to the restaurant.
Contact Kayla Daugherty at 517-552-2848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KayDaugherty92.
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This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: Sagano Japanese Steakhouse and Bistro in Brighton to close its doors