Portland, ME


Thomas Takashi Cooke owns Izakaya Minato along with his wife Elaine Alden. The pair met in San Francisco while working at a Japanese restaurant called Tsunami. Upon leaving there, they spent three months in Japan, living with Cooke’s mother in Tokyo. Alden enrolled in a Japanese language course while Cooke worked at an izakaya, with an eye towards opening their own place. Alden wanted to stay in Tokyo and Cooke wanted to be in San Francisco, but in the end it was Maine that won out. Alden had spent childhood summers on Vinalhaven and thought she’d like to live in Maine.