Words & Deeds

After a quarter century, one of Downtown Boise’s oldest restaurants will close next week

A chef special Ninja Roll at Shige Japanese Cuisine in Downtown Boise.
A chef special Ninja Roll at Shige Japanese Cuisine in Downtown Boise. Idaho Statesman file photo

If you’re hoping to crush one last sushi roll in a second-floor Downtown Boise restaurant, grab those chopsticks now.

Shige Japanese Cuisine, which opened in 1992 at 100 N. 8th St., will serve its final meal Saturday, Dec. 29.

The restaurant is the latest to close on the southwest side of Capitol Terrace. Building owner Hawkins Companies is taking the space in a different direction. The Piper Pub & Grill next door — opened in 1989 — shuttered in November. Ramen Sho, on the other side of Shige, closed at the end of May after one year of business.

Shige fans won’t be able to take an escalator ride anymore to visit co-owners Shigeki and Deborah Matsuzawa — Shige and Debbie to regulars. It was always fun to hear Shige’s loud greeting of “Ir-ra-shai-ma-se!” (“Welcome!”). But a Shige Sushi Express still operates at 520 S. Meridian Road in Meridian.

Shige is a native of Hokkaido, Japan. He sharpened his culinary skills in Tokyo before moving to the United States. After eventually settling in Boise, Shige worked as a chef at the city’s lone sushi bar at the time, Tsuru. He told the Statesman in 2008 that opening his own Japanese restaurant had felt “kind of risky” in the early ’90s.

After all, two sushi joints in little ol’ Boise?

Obviously, it was a success for Shige and Debbie.

KTVB Channel 7 reporter Shirah Matsuzawa, who grew up in her parents’ restaurant, paid tribute with an on-air goodbye story last month.

Entertainment reporter and opinion columnist Michael Deeds covers the Boise good life for the Idaho Statesman. He’s also freelanced for The Washington Post, Relix, Country Weekly, Velo News, Beer Advocate and more. Deeds began his Statesman career as a news intern in 1991, graduated to sportswriting, then ... here we are.