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A Baltimore Japanese restaurant continues success for three generations

Baltimore Japanese restaurant still going through three generations
Baltimore Japanese restaurant still going through three generations 01:50

BALTIMORE - For Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, WJZ is taking you inside of Matsuri Japanese Restaurant and Catering.

It's a story nearly three generations in the making. The restaurant sits at the corner of South Charles Street and East Cross Street in Federal Hill. 

"I have been here for 28 years and every year I try to do something a little different so people won't get tired of it," said Bill Tien, the owner of Matsuri Japanese Restaurant and Catering.

It may look a little different from how you remember it. The restaurant underwent renovations in 2023.

"The sushi bar had two levels but now we do it as one level to make it easier," Tien said. 

But the food, the people and stories inside are the same. 

"I am a third generation — in the food business. My grandfather, my father and then now –we are more like a family business," Tien told WJZ. 

Tien immigrated here from Vietnam and has made a name for himself in Baltimore. 

"When I came here in 1979 I was kind of a refugee," said Tien. "I had nothing. I did not speak English and then I didn't have any friends and I didnt have any money." 

Food and family became the key to his success after opening this restaurant and others in the Charm City.

"My son sometimes helps and then my two daughters," said Tien. 

Tien told WJZ when people walk into Matsuri he wants them to see, smell and taste his culture but also remember that food is something that can bring people together. 

"I want to see people enjoy our food and be happy," said Tien. 

And embrace the legacy he plans to carry-on.

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