Konparu: A Long-established Coffee Shop in Nagoya with Showa Nostalgia
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Konparu is one of the coffee shops representing Nagoya. It is a retro café that many people visit in search of coffee and specialty sandwiches that have not changed since its founding in 1947.
It is a well-known restaurant with many fans from far and wide, as well as locals, but many people may not know what kind of history and commitment Konparu has.
We therefore visited the Konparu Osu main store and spoke with Hideharu Wakata, the president, and Yoshiaki Harima, the store manager.
Founded in 1947.
The beginning is from a corner of Osu.
Konparu The main Osu branch is located north of Banshoji, about a 5-minute walk from Exit 8 of Nagoya Municipal Subway "Kamimaezu" station.
Food samples are lined up next to the entrance, and you can feel nostalgia.
The subdued lighting of the store creates a retro Showa atmosphere with velvet chairs and amber tables.
Even though it was mid-morning on a weekday when we visited, the store was bustling with a variety of customers, including regulars visiting by themselves, friends, and people working in the shopping district.
The founding president, Mr. Wakata's father, opened Konparu in 1947, shortly after the war. When he went to China for the war, he found a thriving restaurant called "Konparu（金春）". He named the restaurant Konparu with the hope that when he returned to Japan, he would like to open a restaurant that was as prosperous as 金春.
Mr. Wakata:"My father was demobilized after the war and got a job at the Morinaga Candy Store, a coffee shop near what is now Kokusai Center Station. After learning how to make coffee there for about a year, in 1947 he went independent and rented a corner of a beauty salon in Osu to open a coffee shop, which became very popular. So the following year, in 1948, we moved to our current location, rented a space of 5 tsubo. After that, the store was expanded and renovated in 1982 to the present. "
Although the store has been renovated, the remnants of the 1940s still remain everywhere. The chairs have been reupholstered in fabric since the store opened. The wood of the floor also makes use of what was used at that time.
Among them, I would like you to pay attention to the blue tile wall in the back of the store. Actually, there was a small pond in this place, and it was covered with this tile. It seems that it is used on the wall as a remnant of that.
You can feel the history from the remade wall.
According to Mr. Wakata, there used to be a machine that made soft-serve ice cream and an aquarium with tropical fish. It was a different atmosphere than it is now.
In one corner of the shop, there is a pink phone...! I thought it was a decoration, but if you put 10 yen in it, you can still use it properly. A small child often asks, "What is this?"
Showa 30's. Opening stores one after another in the newly opened underground mall
Konparu 's concept is "connected by metro". There are 9 stores in Nagoya City, and there are stores near subway stations and underground malls.
10 years after opening in Osu, we first opened a store in Nagoya Station, then in Sakae, and increased the number of stores in underground shopping malls along with rapid economic growth. In the mid-1950s, when the subway had just opened, there was no culture of underground malls yet, so Konparu was one of the first to start underground business.
There was also a reason to open a store only in Nagoya city.
Mr. Wakata: "My father's motto is to provide good food to our customers, so it's for quality control purposes. My father told me that you can't cheat what you put in your mouth."
A coffee with a taste that has not changed since its founding
The coffee served at Konparu is characterized by its deep, rich flavor and round body. It is a cup of commitment that has not changed since its founding.
The president, Mr. Wakata, goes around the shop every day to check the taste of the coffee and adjust the blending and roasting according to the condition. This has been passed down since the founding president.
The coffee beans are blended with a unique combination, but the type and proportion of beans is a trade secret. Originally, only the founding president and Mr. Wakata knew about it, and even now, only the president and a limited number of executives know about it.
Mr. Harima, the store manager, has been involved in the store for about 16 years, including a part-time job when he was a student, but even the employees don't know which beans they use. Since the beans are already ground at the factory and delivered to the store, they have hardly seen the beans themselves.
When ordering iced coffee at Konparu, coffee in a demitasse cup and a glass with ice are carried like this. Konparu style is to pour hot coffee into a glass and make iced coffee yourself.
By rapidly cooling, it won't oxidize easily, and you can enjoy the flavor and aroma of hot coffee. This has not changed since our founding.
The trick to getting it right is to pour it all at once. When the ice melts, it is extracted more intensely than hot coffee so that the concentration in your mouth does not change.
Add fresh cream if desired. This cream is made by concentrating raw milk to more than 50% milk fat without adding any additives. The milk fat content is thicker than commercial fresh cream, and the cost is high, so it is said that it is difficult to taste it elsewhere.
It was a mellow taste with the coffee flavor and cream complementing each other.
Famous Fried Shrimp Sandwich
Konparu 's sandwich menu has about 25 types in total. Among them, the shrimp fried sandwich is famous as a specialty of Nagoya. It was in 1960 that we began to develop a full-fledged sandwich menu. We asked about the development process.
Mr. Wakata: "At the beginning, we specialized in coffee, and we also served simple toast and sandwiches. Around 1958, we scouted a chef who was working at a restaurant in Kobe to open a coffee shop that mainly served sandwiches at Nagoya Station, and we started developing menus."
After that, the founding president, the current president, and the factory manager were involved in the development and created a number of sandwich menus. Fried shrimp sandwich was born in 1988. After a while, talent Tamori said, "When you think of Nagoya, you think of Ebifurya."
A hearty sandwich with 3 large fried shrimp, fluffy egg and cabbage. The homemade cutlet sauce and tartar sauce match the ingredients and will satisfy both your stomach and your heart.
All sandwiches are handmade in-house after receiving an order. We also use homemade sauces and dressings that are sandwiched inside, and we are particular about deliciousness and safety.
By the way, all the sauces are made in our own factory, but the recipe is a secret. Which bread is used, of course, is a secret too. However, I was told that the bread manufacturer makes a special bread for Konparu.
Not just fried shrimp sandwiches! popular menu
We asked Mr. Harima, the store manager, about the popular menu.
Mr. Harima: “As expected, fried shrimp sandwiches, cutlet sandwiches and mixed sandwiches are popular. Surprisingly, hot dogs are also popular.
It's a great volume even if you look at it from the side. The ingredients are simply sausage and cabbage, but the well-seasoned cabbage and fluffy bread go well together, making it a satisfying meal.
All sandwich menus are available for takeout.
During the morning breakfast time, they serve ham and egg toast for an additional 130 yen to the drink bill.
Cream soda popular among young people. "It's not special, it's an orthodox cream soda," says Harima. Cafe au lait and matcha milk are also popular.
It seems that the menu of Konparu has not changed at all since its birth, such as recipes and appearance. You can taste the real Showa retro.
“It was about 20 years ago that young locals and tourists began to visit Osu as it is today. Until then, many shops had closed their shutters, and the environment had changed, but we kept our stance of 'providing delicious food.' Even if the city changes completely, I want to keep the same style without being swept away by the environment and without changing my stance,” said Mr. Wakata, the president.
Please enjoy the special menu in a nostalgic atmosphere.
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