The JOE’S Story…
The idea for Tokyo Joe’s came to me while I was living in Arizona back in the late 80’s.
It’s just too hot there, so I needed to return to where I was from, Colorado. But I did not want to return to the ski industry that I left, so what was I going to do?
Well, I kept having this idea for a restaurant. It was to be healthy, not expensive, quick service rather than having waiters or waitresses and it had a really great atmosphere. At the time, none of this existed all in the same place. No where.
Restaurants were either fast food or full service … nothing really in between. Food was either pricey or not really all that good and if the place was cool looking inside, then it definitely was not fast, much less affordable. Something was missing.
But what style of food is healthy and still popular? (No, a tofu and sprouts sandwich concept was not an option) and that’s when I came across my healthy Japanese food idea. Not Chinese food, which is often deep fried or wok cooked. But Japanese, which most often is grilled or steamed. And upon deeper review, I found it to be exactly what I was searching for … the closest thing to the way we should be eating. The right amount of Carbs, Proteins, Vegetables, all with great flavors and if made right … a very clean and healthy way to eat. Every fitness book I opened talked about steamed rice, grilled proteins and lightly steamed vegetables. Plus it was my favorite style of food to eat when I dined out. Bingo.
So we use only the best ingredients, nothing deep fried, no greasy wok cooking, no MSG., just all Natural Proteins, Wild Seafood, Organic produce where possible, and yes RICE. Lot’s of rice.
Now in 1996 when we opened our first location there was nothing like us anywhere. First of its kind for sure and still in many ways we can say that as we have continually evolved Tokyo Joe’s through our deep belief in Kaizen. The menu is much broader now, with more general “asian” influences while always staying true to our beliefs about the food needing to be healthy, both in how it is prepared and also to what goes into each item on the menu. Fried egg rolls? That will never happen at Tokyo Joe’s.
So, 8727 E. Dry Creek Road was Tokyo Joe’s #1. This was before Park Meadows Mall even existed. We got it designed, got it built, even managed to charge my house payment on my credit card the first day this restaurant opened … not for the thrill or stress I was searching for, but because that’s just how broke I was by that point. Good times? Matter of fact … the best times ever. And the rest has brought me to where we are today. Tokyo Joe’s as you know it.
-Larry Leith, Founder