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‘The chef takes his son to Legoland’: Restaurant’s ‘closed’ sign goes viral

Sasabune Glendale owner Genji Sato takes son, Daiki, to Legoland for his birthday every year.
One California chef is cooking up serious internet love after sharing the adorable reason his restaurant is closed.
One California chef is cooking up serious internet love after sharing the adorable reason his restaurant is closed.@sushisasabuneglendale / Instagram
/ Source: TODAY

When Genji Sato of California decided to take a day off work, he never considered it might go viral.

Sato, who is the owner and chef at Sasabune in Glendale, California, shared a post to his restaurant's Instagram Saturday that the restaurant would be closed in honor of his son's birthday.

"We will be closed 2/28 Monday," the sign, which featured balloons and a rainbow, read. "Due to the chef takes his son to LEGOLAND for son's 7th birthday."

Almost immediately, the post began racking up likes and comments, and a tweet of the sign from the restaurant has racked up 40,000 retweets and nearly 560,000 likes.

"I hope the chef and his son have a good day at Legoland :)," reads the tweet.

Sato told TODAY Food he and wife, Kaya, began the tradition when their son, Daiki, turned 4.

"My son picked Legoland," Sato said, adding that each year he posts the sign of the restaurant closing, he gets positive feedback.

Sato, who has been a chef for more than 20 years, revealed that running the authentic Japanese restaurant — which emphatically declares, “NO SPICY TUNA ROLL. NO CALIFORNIA ROLL. NO TEMPURA & TERIYAKI. SERIOUSLY!!” in its Instagram profile — keeps him very busy.

“I am going to the fish market every morning at five in the morning,” Sato told TODAY. “I don’t have much time to spend with family. I'm working so hard."

Sato revealed Daiki's birthday is actually in October.

“But it was busy for me so I didn’t have the time,” he said of the delayed birthday celebration.

On Monday, Sato told TODAY the family has been enjoying their time at Legoland this year, which has so far included riding go-carts and a trip to the playground.

Sato and son, Daiki, celebrate at Legoland.
Sato and son, Daiki, celebrate at Legoland.Courtesy Genji Sato

“We (have been) here since yesterday,” Sato said of Daiki's annual birthday excursion, adding that this year’s celebration was the first time in two years the family has been able to return to Legoland since the pandemic. "It's good to be with family."