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Inside Benihana, Bringing Hibachi Theatrics Back to Chicago After 10 Years

Benihana opens on Aug. 23 at the Hancock

Benihana returns to Chicago on Aug. 23.
Courtesy of Benihana
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Ten years ago, Benihana closed its Chicago restaurant in Streeterville, leaving the city without a location of the pricey, hibachi-focused chain. That’s about to change next week when the theatrical Japanese restaurant group returns to the city. Opening date’s Aug. 23 at the John Hancock Center, inside the ground-floor space where L’ Appetito occupied. Benihana debuted 53 years ago in New York and spread to Chicago in 1968 when the company opened its first location outside the Empire State.

For many Americans, Behihana was their first exposure to Japanese food, as chefs entertain customers while preparing their meals on the flattop. The new restaurant features 22 teppanyaki tables outfitted with hibachis, three private dining rooms, and a cocktail lounge. There’s also outdoor seating, and the Hancock location has a sushi bar. A spokeswoman said the menu will match other locations, including suburban ones in Lombard, Schaumburg, and Wheeling.

Take a look at the interior photos below. Reservations can be made online or by calling (312) 780-3110. Benihana opens on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the Hancock, 875 N. Michigan Ave.

The bar greets customers near the Michigan Avenue entrance.
Not all the tables have hibachis.
Patrons can snag a seat at the sushi bar.
There’s 23 tables with hibachis.
Benihana chefs are famous for putting on a show around the hibachis.
One of the three private dining rooms.
Courtesy of Benihana
This private dining room also has a wine fridge.
The room near the indoor entrance.
Courtesy of Benihana