Beginning March 6, if you have a craving for something from Rangetsu, you’ll have to book a flight to Tokyo to satisfy it. The Japanese restaurant that started on International Drive then moved to Maitland, will close that location March 5. The above image is from the restaurant’s Facebook page where it made the announcement.
Rangetsu — once known as Ran-Getsu — opened in 1986 in a freestanding building at 8400 International Drive. It was distinctive for its Japanese architecture and large koi pond at the entrance. It closed in March of 2010, a victim, the general manager said at the time, of the recession and a downturn in conventions and Japanese tourists. (A Joe’s Crab Shack now occupies the address on International Drive.)
A year later, the owners reopened the restaurant in the Village at Lake Lily condominium complex. It was, in my estimation, a better restaurant than the I-Drive version, even without the architecture or carp. But it was large — perhaps too large — and suffered at least in part from signage restrictions that limited it from flagging traffic on busy U.S. Highway 17-92.
When it first opened, the concept was that it would be a restaurant and sushi bar in the early evening hours then transition to an upscale ultra lounge with dancing later. But that plan was scrapped very early on. Because Maitland.
The local Rangetsu is actually a second location for the original restaurant in Tokyo, which has been in operation for over 65 years. That restaurant will remain open. Below is a screenshot from Ginza Rangetsu’s website that still touts (one assumes) the second location in Maitland.