The pandemic has claimed another Rochester restaurant as a casualty.

On Saturday, the Jenpachi Japanese Steak House ceased operations.

The restaurant at 3160 Wellner Drive NE had hung on by offering some takeout and delivery, but owner Charlie Zhao told his delivery service, Waiters Express, that he couldn’t keep it open any more. Zhao was not available to discuss the closing.

Zhao opened the Japanese steak house 17 years ago. The eatery featured fiery cooking exhibitions at special grills surrounded by diners. It was an early attraction for the then-new West Century Plaza, which also houses Whistle Binkies Olde World Pub.

When it opened in October 2003, Jenpachi had seating for 80 customers. It employed a staff of 15. That included skilled cooks, who provided running banter with customers as they made flashy cooking moves on a hot grill.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to or via Twitter to @whereskiger. You can call him at 507-285-7798.