A viral TikTok video of a Denver Japanese restaurant created chaos, challenges, and changes for the small business.
In 1996, Gaku Homma opened Domo Japanese Country Restaurant. His restaurant provides a unique dining experience rich in flavor and culture that has attracted loyal customers over the last 25 years. Clients have the choice of sitting inside surrounded by Japanese décor or outside in a traditional Japanese garden.
The locally owned business became a Denver staple over the years and in 2021, Zagat ranked the restaurant as one of the top five Japanese restaurants in the U.S. But nothing prepared the business owner and staff for the power and impact of social media.
A customer recorded a TikTok video — less than one minute and without narration — of the restaurant in July. But that’s all people needed.
Chef Koichi Ninomiya said an employee pulled up the video and it had more than half a million views in one day. For several days, people lined up outside the restaurant before the doors opened. The line was so long it reached an apartment complex more than half a block from the entrance.
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