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Ryuu Japanese steak house coming to Brandon mall; Brandon Costco opens gas pumps

BRANDON — Employees of Ryuu Japanese Steak House will probably spend a lot of time correcting customers' pronunciation.

Despite its spelling, the restaurant's name is pronounced sort of like "Loo." It's the Japanese word for dragon.

Ryuu is tentatively set to open at Westfield Brandon mall the first week of November.

Owner Robert Smith said Ryuu will offer customers a seamless mix of traditional and contemporary Japanese dining.

"It's just not your typical Japanese steak house," Smith said. "It's modernized. When you walk in, you'll know you're in a Japanese restaurant. You can watch the show if you want, but there's also booth sitting if you want a more intimate experience."

The show Smith refers to is teppanyaki, the flashy table-side cooking performed by Japanese chefs on small grills. Ryuu will have group tables for people who want that experience, and who don't mind possibly sharing a table with strangers. It also will have Western-style private tables.

The restaurant will feature a sushi bar with more than 40 items and a full liquor bar.

Smith said he has reason to believe that Ryuu will be a hit with area residents. He opened Tsunami Japanese Steak House about a year ago near Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg. Tsunami has the same blend of traditional and contemporary ambience, features essentially the same menu and has been popular with Pinellas County diners.

Smith said he's very picky about the food he uses, but he aims to keep prices reasonable.

"I would say it's moderate," he said. "The average price for dinner would probably be $20 to $25."

At both of his restaurants, Smith said, there's just as much attention paid to the service and the dining experience as to the food itself.

"It's a pleasurable place," he said. "You're not just a customer. You're a guest."

Ryuu Japanese Steak House will be open from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week. Ryuu doesn't have a phone number or a website yet, but the site for its sister restaurant is

Add gasoline to list of Costco offerings

Life just got a little more convenient for customers of the Brandon Costco.

Earlier this month, Costco added 12 gas pumps at its location at 10921 Causeway Blvd., so members don't need to make a separate stop to fill up.

The pumps are only available to Costco members. They're open from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday. Those are longer hours than the Costco warehouse, and an attendant will be on duty at all times. American Express and ATM cards are the only accepted forms of payment.

General manager Hector Mencia said he has researched prices at other stations within a 5-mile radius and couldn't find any with lower prices.

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Ryuu Japanese steak house coming to Brandon mall; Brandon Costco opens gas pumps 10/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 4:30am]
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