Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
May 16, 2007 01:15 AM

Marukai opening in Cupertino

According to the Cupertino Courier, LA-based Japanese grocer Marukai will open its first NorCal store in Cupertino this summer. They are taking over space currently occupied by Long Drugs on Stevens Creek a block west of Wolfe. It sounds like it will be across from Imahara produce. How does Marukai compare with Mitsuwa?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That's news. Thanks.

    Regarding how Marukai compares to Mitsuwa (using the SoCal ones as a sample), the big stores are similar in multi-functionality, more stuff/variety, sub-vendors, food courts, etc., but different. I find Mitsuwa to be slightly sterile and Marukai a bit more homey. Dry goods seem pretty similar but the meat/fish and kitchen gadgets seem better at Marukai...although I don't shop there regularly, only when I see my family.

    Also, the Marukais in SoCal vary from store to store depending on size and how new it is. The Gardena store seems to be the flagship, built to purpose, is bigger and the fish definately seems better then the Costa Mesa store (smaller, less stuff, use to be a Von's).

    My guess is the Marukai in Cupertino should be pretty nice given it's the first in NorCal and the demographics. If it takes over a large store, probably better.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      the long's drug that currently occupies the space is as big if not larger then mitsuwa. beard papa is also opening within the same complex. parking is about to become a whole lot more interesting there.

    2. I've heard that Marukai is a membership store, and that one must pay a fee to shop there. Is that true?

      3 Replies
      1. re: teela brown

        I think the membership is $10 and they charge you 10% more if you're not a member.

        1. re: ML8000

          There are trial memberships that you can buy for a dollar a month. Just to test things out!

          1. re: aloo

            Good news! Marukai will be opening this year, after all. However, there won't have a kitchen/food court.


            From the article:

            Marukai, a Japanese chain grocery store, will open at Marketplace Shopping Center in Cupertino despite the opposition of neighboring residents.

            The city council on Jan. 8 unanimously upheld the appeal of Marketplace's owner, Evershine Group, reversing the planning commission's denial of Marukai's application. The council approved Marukai's use permit under certain conditions: that there will be sealed new trash compactors, a hotline will be set up to address residents' concerns and the council will review the case in a year.

      2. Sounds like Marukai might not open in Cupertino after all. I was hoping Marukai would offer similar offerings (prepared foods, food court) to their SoCal locations, but guess the planning commission/local neighbors saw otherwise. Such a shame...

        From the article:

        The Cupertino Planning Commission on a 2-1 vote turned down an application by Marukai, a Japanese chain grocery store, to open at the Marketplace Shopping Center.

        Commissioners took the action Dec. 11, saying that the market's plan to cut and package fish and meat violated a city ordinance regarding on-site food preparation at the rear of the strip mall at 19680-19720 Stevens Creek Blvd. The applicant can appeal the decision to the city council.

        The ordinance, known as resolution 3055, mandates that new businesses at the rear area of the Marketplace center, which is near residences along Bixby Drive, cannot have on-site food preparation. Marukai had eliminated a proposed kitchen from the planning of its new store because of the ordinance.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kerokero

          That SUX! besides the Japanese grocery items. the thing i like about marukai is the selection of hawaiian products. Everything from Zippys frozen chili to hawaiian sun soft drinks to Hurricane popcorn.....

          1. re: Skunk2Racer

            I recently visited the Marukai in Costa Mesa for the first time. Just a brief visit and we mainly looked at the non-food items, but I was surprised at how unimpressed we were with the offerings. A lot of tacky, junky stuff in my opinion. Of course I didn't shop there, but what I saw of the food didn't look much different from Mitsuwa in San Jose or branches of Niji-ya. But I DO envy the food courts in the Mitsuwa Marketplaces down south. Amazing ramen, yoshoku, etc. of a high quality that is so rare up here in regular restaurants, let alone food courts. Makes the food served at Mitsuwa's "restaurant" here look like a joke. :-(

            1. re: Wendy_san

              The one in Gardena is much nicer and larger. Still the non-food stuff is a lot of .99 cents sort of plastics but they have an upstairs with non-junky things. The things that popped out about the Gardena store is the Hawaiian stuff and on Sat and Sun they'd bring in big hunks of tuna and carve sashimi for a good price. The Costa Mesa store is junky in comparison.