ELLSWORTH — After almost a year of anticipation, Crazy Sumo is almost ready to open its doors.
Crazy Sumo, a Japanese hibachi steakhouse, is set to announce its official opening within the next week. The restaurant took over a building that previously housed the Denny’s on High Street, and has been under construction for almost a year. Now, as Ellsworth area residents are patiently awaiting the official opening, the restaurant is nearing the beginning of its new era.
Crazy Sumo is a family business. Dan Mayer, one of the partners involved in its creation, said the restaurant is the creation of him and his brother-in-law. The inside of the restaurant is decked out with Japanese-inspired flair — behind the host stand is a beautiful wooden backdrop, and all of the counters surrounding the hibachi grills were painstakingly handmade.
“All of the woodwork was all built from scratch,” Mayer said. “Minus the grills themselves … [everything wooden] is all from scratch.”
The space is divided into two sections: on one side, there is traditional family booth-style seating, while on the other, community seating surrounds the hibachi grills. Chefs on the community side will cook meals right in front of guests, who will eat while also enjoying traditional hibachi showmanship.
While the family scoped out a number of Bangor area locations for the restaurant, they ultimately chose the High Street location based on its proximity to the main road to Bar Harbor.
“It was a match made in heaven,” Mayer said. “This location just really stood out to us, and it seemed like a really ideal place for success.”
Part of the reason for the delay in opening, Mayer said, was the lack of available labor for the project. For a while, the crew doing the work was extremely small, and it only recently expanded to finish the final stages of remodeling.
“Had that been our original crew, we would have opened up several months ago,” he said. “But it’s hard to find labor right now. Everything in every industry seems to be struggling in some way or another.”
Crazy Sumo’s Facebook page lit up with over a hundred comments and replies after their last update; though he was nervous, Mayer noted how upbeat all of the replies were, even given their delayed timeline.
“I know that the community is very excited for us, and we’re very very excited to be finally open and able to serve them,” Mayer said. “The response was all positive … we had more than a one hundred percent increase in followers, just from one post!”
The restaurant is slated for a “soft open” on Thursday, when city employees, including those in City Hall, first responders and other essential personnel, will get to see all of the work in action. For the rest of the public, the grand opening will be announced sometime within the next week.
“Everyone that I’ve spoken to and interacted with in this area has been so nice,” Mayer said. “This is just such a nice community, and they really embrace new business. Being able to serve people who seem to really want to embrace you into their community, that’s just exciting.”
Lizzie Heintz is the downtown Ellsworth reporter. She is a dual-national American/British citizen, and got her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Emerson College in 2021 with a minor in photography and a multimedia focus. She welcomes tips and suggestions on any Ellsworth stories.