Benihana Enlists Innovation & Design in Architecture for Santa Monica Redesign

MIAMI, Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ: BNHNA; BNHN), the nation's leading operator of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, is debuting its newly redesigned sushi bar and cocktail lounge on the mezzanine level of the Santa Monica restaurant on 1447 4th Street. To conceptualize and execute the redesign, Benihana partnered with Innovation & Design in Architecture (IDA), a full service architectural design firm comprised of award-winning architects and designers. The Santa Monica location, which occupies the ground floor in a historic art-deco building downtown, remained open for business during the three-month redesign period, but closed the mezzanine until its public reveal.

The mezzanine level now boasts a contemporary sushi and cocktail lounge, with seating for 50 in a semi-circular loft overlooking Benihana's famous teppanyaki tables on the ground floor dining room. The 844 square-feet space is divided into a full sushi and lounge area, great for after-work drinks and meeting with friends. The lounge menu includes an array of wines from around the world, premium sake, Japanese and domestic beer and Benihana specialty cocktails such as the Mango Saketini, Benihana Mojito and Blue Ocean Punch Bowl. Happy Hour is available each Monday through Thursday from 5-8 pm, with drink specials plus hand rolls, specialty rolls, nigiri rolls and Benihana bites starting at $2.

"The Benihana Santa Monica lounge and sushi bar was designed with the idea of creating an intimate space that would attract, entice and energize guests," said Joshua Cool, president of IDA. "The dramatic red sculpted ceiling above the grand staircase emulates the Benihana safflower petal in motion. A U-shaped bar indicates an endless journey, while a cherry blossom graphic wraps the back wall to create an overwhelming tranquil feeling."

For more information about Benihana or to find a location near you, visit: www.benihana.com.

About Benihana

Headquartered in Miami, Benihana Inc. (NASDAQ GS: BNHN, BNHNA)is the nation's leading operator of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants with 96 restaurants nationwide, including 63 Benihana restaurants, eight Haru sushi restaurants, and 25 RA Sushi restaurants. In addition, 18 franchised Benihana restaurants are operating in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. To learn more about Benihana Inc. and its three restaurant concepts, please view the corporate video at www.benihana.com/about/video.

SOURCE Benihana Inc.

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