Mt. Fuji is back open in its original location at 10301 N. Rodney Parham. It closed temporarily after the March 31 tornado that hit Central Arkansas cut a path through the Breckenridge Shopping Center, damaging the restaurant’s roof and HVAC units and totaling both of the owners’ cars.
The restaurant had already closed after lunch when the storm hit Central Arkansas shortly after 2 p.m. that Friday. New owners Aaron Shota Jackson and his brother Yusuke Jackson were still at the restaurant with Yusuke’s wife and one other employee when the sirens started going off and alerts began to sound on their phones. When the lights in the building started flickering, Aaron suggested they go to Kroger to get some dry ice for the night shift should they lose power.
“We walked outside and my brother saw the tornado, and was like, ‘Go back inside, go back inside!’ I think he’s exaggerating because our age difference is five years and he’s my little brother. I’m like ‘He’s just playing around,’ so I go down there and I look, and it was like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ out there,” Aaron said.
It was at that time that Aaron saw a vehicle coming off I-430 drive through a fence and head straight for the restaurant.
“I waited for him because he was bee-lining it straight to us,” Aaron said.
They proceeded to the restaurant’s downstairs area and the building shook as the tornado passed over, Aaron said.
“When we came out everything had changed,” Aaron said. “Trees were gone and part of the Breckenridge sign flew into my brother’s car. My car didn’t seem too bad, but insurance totaled it because all the panels and windows had to be replaced.”
The guest who drove through the fence and parked in front of the restaurant had damage to his car as well, Aaron said.
“His car had no windows, and he just hopped in and left. He was like, “Alright, thank you guys.’ He was definitely sitting on glass, he had to be. He definitely saved his own life; we just opened the door for him. The tornado was right behind him,” Aaron said.
Aaron said two HVAC units have been fixed and the roof has been patched. It’s still not fully repaired, so while they are open, they’re not open to full capacity just yet.
Aaron said progress is underway at the restaurant’s new Breckenridge spot, located within the shopping center.
“We went to the spot yesterday, and they’re getting the kitchen walls framed up right now. Plumbing’s done. It’s coming along and it looks good. We’re excited for it.”
Mt. Fuji is open for lunch from 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Wed.-Sat.; dinner is 5-9:30 p.m. Tue-Thu.; 5-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and 5-9:30 p.m Sun.