For art to be successful, its creator must possess the ability to transform his or her imagination—or that of someone else’s—into tangible form. This is certainly true in the restaurant industry, where the sinuous path from concept to operation can put even the most significant details at risk of being lost in translation. Fortunately, when you’ve got a chef-owner with an art degree and a conceptual shark like Mike Cronomiz from Re:Vision Architecture on your team, chances are good that the “ideal” you’ve created in the clouds will play out as you envisioned, only better.

From the beginning, Moon expressed a strong desire to create a restaurant that felt inviting, relaxing and authentic, closer to that of dining at a friend’s home rather than in a commercial space. One of the ways we were able to achieve this sensation was through the three-story atrium, which we fortuitously inherited. Not only does it lend an airy feel to both the first and second-level dining areas, it afforded us the opportunity to replicate one of the most prominent features in traditional Japanese homes. You’ll recognize immediately, that this interior courtyard is Yanako’s focal point, a place for gathering, as well as a strong compositional element. With the combination of the skylights, a “green” wall, tiled roofline, and the use of wood, the space evokes the emotions and atmosphere of eating outside.

Our other pièce de résistance is the sushi bar, an 18-foot long, 4-inch thick stretch of Monkey Pod wood featuring a live (unfinished) edge and an organic, vibrant look and feel that echoes the overall rustic, earthy design. Framed by the terracotta tiled roof-line, created with tiles imported from Japan, along the atrium’s interior, the sushi bar not only sets the stage, it becomes the stage, bringing both guest and chef closer to one another—the true goal of any restaurant.

Climbing the steps to the second level dining room, you’ll notice the “vegetation wall.” This indoor garden is similar to those found in Japanese courtyards. Our abstraction is a fusion of plant material, dramatically cascading down to create a waterfall effect.

For those who prefer to gaze outward, we strategically placed our tatami-style seating at the front of the restaurant. Perfect for people watching, which we know is a popular Manayunk activity, yet also within view of the sushi bar and atrium. Even outsiders benefit: From the right angle on the street (and through the French windows) passersby will be able to see straight into the atrium and catch a glimpse of the vegetated wall and the tiled roof line. We sure won’t mind if you hold up a piece of maki or plate of udon to tempt them…


Tues – Sun, Noon-3pm
Mon – Thurs, 5pm-9:30pm
Fri-Sat, 5pm-10pm
Sun, 5pm-9:30pm
4345 Main St.
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(267) 297-8151
(267) 297 8341

Yanako Now Accepts Reservations Online:

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Eat fresh. Eat colorfully. Eat creatively.