Head Sushi Chef
Peggi Ince-Whiting has been making sushi in Utah for over 30 years. She is one of a handful of female chefs to work behind a sushi bar in Japan.
Peggi was trained by Sushi Master Inou at Hama Sushi in Tokyo. After finishing her apprenticeship under Master Inou, Peggi returned to her native Utah to open her own restaurant, Ichiban Sushi.
Over the 20 years that Peggi owned and operated Ichiban she received many awards and acknowledgments for her talent from US publications such as Bon Appetite Magazine, Fine Cooking Magazine, and Zagats. She has also received notations in numerous Japanese publications. Peggi's love of Japanese cuisine and creative combinations of new flavors are an exciting new aspect for patrons of Kyoto.
Chef Marlene Noda started at one of the first Japanese restaurants in Salt Lake City, The Hibachi.
She continued her culinary journey in many notable restaurants from Oregon to Hawaii. After her return the Salt Lake she worked for Chef Ince-Whiting at Ichiban in Park City for 10 years while earning her A.S. Degree in marketing and business.
She went on to own and operate Pagoda with her business partner and earned her B.S. in Culinary Management. She worked for Grappa Italian Restaurant in Park City, mastering all stations of the kitchen. Now she has come full circle and is happy to be working with Chef Peggi Ince-Whiting again at Kyoto as her sous chef and right hand.
Her favorite menu items include the Nabeyaki Udon, Agedashi Tofu, Sukiyaki, and Tonkatsu. She enjoys gardening, spending time with her grandchildren, and her time at the gym.
Kyoto Dining Room
Yoshiko Yamasaki was born in Odawara, Japan near Mount Fuji. With a career in music, Yoshiko had no ambition to open and operate her own restaurant. After marrying Sam and moving to the US that all changed. Yoshiko worked as a hostess, server, and then head server at Benihana, providing her with the experience she needed for their new adventure.
Kyoto Japanese Restaurant opened for business on August 16, 1984. Sam & Yoshiko Tada were nervous as they invited in guests that first day to the location at 1080 East 1300 South, which had not been known as a home for successful restaurants. One by one, restaurants had opened at that location, only to close their doors soon afterward. Critics and patrons were skeptical of Kyoto’s chances for success.
With Sam as Chef, creating dishes and managing the kitchen, and Yoshiko leading service and managing the finances, they proved to be the perfect combination for a business that would become an icon in Salt Lake City.
After tasting the food and enjoying their dining experience, those same critics were dazzled and pleased by the newest restaurant on the block. One reviewer in July of 1985 said, “After our first visit, the major reason for Kyoto’s success was clear – this restaurant serves superb Japanese food.”
With servers dressed in traditional Japanese Kimonos and the clean interior design, Kyoto has the feel of a little piece of Japan in the Rocky Mountains. Sam Tada had realized his dream of bringing that feeling of the home he grew up in, to his new home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Traditional Seating Available
While there have been some changes in Kyoto over the last 30 years, surprisingly many things have stayed the same. The menu at Kyoto expanded greatly, with the addition of the Sushi Bar in 2001, the heart of the menu has stayed the same as it was on opening day. Some of the menu standouts, such as the Ebi Tempura, Agedashi Tofu, and “salty-sweet” Teriyaki, are the most popular items on the menu today.
New partners, The LaSalle Group, operators of Oasis Café, Golden Braid Books, and Stanza Italian Bistro, strive to maintain the amazing legacy that Sam & Yoshiko Tada has spent a lifetime creating. While the Tada’s are still at Kyoto on almost a daily basis, they can finally take some much-deserved rest. The LaSalle Group prides itself on providing top quality fresh ingredients, friendly efficient service and a clean and appropriate atmosphere at all their locations, which makes this new partnership a natural success for everyone, especially our amazing customer base…the most important ingredient in Kyoto’s success since 1984.
Sam Tada was born in Kyoto, Japan. After finishing high school, he began working in the vibrant local restaurant scene. In Kyoto, it is traditional to train and teach younger generations the craft and skills related to running a restaurant and then send them out to create their own success.
This is a lesson that Sam has held close to his heart, and is evident as Sam & Yoshiko have advised and aided their own employees to open their own businesses. Businesses that sometimes even compete with Kyoto.
At age 23, Sam moved to Salt Lake City and began to work with Jerry Tsuyuki as they endeavored to open a traditional Japanese restaurant. Sam was not only the opening Chef at Mikado, but he also helped with the construction and carpentry of the restaurant before opening.