Kobe Japanese Steak House was founded in 1978 by Canadian restaurateurs Hy Aisenstat and Rod Gardiner, who were inspired to reproduce a charming 300-year-old Japanese country inn along the Palm Springs area’s famous Restaurant Row in Rancho Mirage. The concept involved highly trained teppan chefs serving the finest ingredients within a warm and entertaining environment, and over 35 years Kobe has provided great food and entertainment for millions of guests.
Over the years, Kobe has thrived with remarkably little change. Indeed, its consistent quality and service has become a trademark for Kobe in Rancho Mirage. In the late 80’s, Kobe was acquired by one of its early investors, Hideo Yamada of Osaka, Japan, and is still owned today by the Yamada family. The building itself has matured well, settling into its role as a Japanese country inn from a different era. When it opened, Kobe was home to authentic Japanese antiques imported from Japan and valued at over $300,000 in 1978. While some of these items have been stolen by unscrupulous guests, many are still in the exact same place as day one, and other items have been added.
What separates Kobe from most other outstanding restaurants is the people. Many of our current staff were hired during the first five years of business, and it is through their admirable hard work and loyalty that Kobe has remained successful for so long. And, of course, there is Kobe’s loyal following of customers, both locals who frequent Kobe regularly and “snow birds” who trek from less agreeable climates and visit Kobe during the peak winter season. An exhaustive list of celebrity visitors would be ridiculously long, but a small sampling would include local luminaries Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore, former President Gerald Ford, and Arnold Schwarzenegger with his former wife Maria Shriver and their family. Yet if you were to ask the General Manager, the celebrities continue to visit only because Kobe remains so popular. Kobe’s long-term success is based almost entirely on families and friends who visit Kobe to enjoy great food together in an unpretentious atmosphere that promotes conversation, laughter, and fond memories.