For Gowanus’ sake: Mirror Tea & Sake house struggling to stay afloat

exterior of mirror tea & sake house
Mirror Tea & Sake House in Gowanus is at risk of closing as its owner works to raise more than $12,000 to keep the business afloat.
Photo courtesy of Mirror Tea & Sake House

Mirror Tea & Sake House in Gowanus is reaching out to the community for support as threats of closure threaten the fledgling restaurant.

Fumio Tashiro, the restaurant’s owner, began a desperate GoFundMe appeal in May to raise $12,000 to save the business he has painstakingly worked to develop for the past six years. 

In describing Mirror, Tashiro said he prides his business on providing a relaxed environment for customers searching for delicious, organic, and authentic Japanese cuisine.

“We have a genuine desire to introduce the essence of tea, health food, Japanese sake, and aesthetics to people from diverse cultural backgrounds and different generations,” said Tashiro. “Mirror stands out because it blends traditional elements with something unique and innovative, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for our customers.”

Tashiro and his wife both grew up in households “deeply connected” to the world of food, he said. His own family runs a restaurant, and his family influenced his desire to share genuine, creative foods with the community. 

Of their $12,000 goal, Tashiro and Mirror Tea House have already raised more than $2,600 — but much more support is required to combat the adverse effects of the pandemic that still linger for the struggling restaurant.

softly-lit room at mirror tea & sake house in Gowanus
Mirror is a warm, intimate space that has found massive support and love from its community, Tashiro said.Photo courtesy of Mirror Tea & Sake House

“We are still experiencing the impact of the pandemic. During those challenging times, I persevered by passionately refusing to give up on the business I had established. I took out loans for working capital. However, rising prices caused by inflation, coupled with the repercussions of the recession, worsened the state of management,” said Tashiro.

Despite the many challenges, however, Tashiro feels a deep sense of pride and gratitude for the many lessons learned from his years running Mirror Tea House. He explained that his unwavering dedication to the business is attributed in large part to the support and dedication of his loyal customers. Gowanus has been a warm and comfortable place for the restaurant, he said. 

The Gowanus Dredgers are hosting a special sunset Gowanus Shoreline Walk to support the biz on Aug. 7 — with all proceeds benefiting the restaurant.

“Mirror Tea House is something special to me,” said Tashiro. “As someone born in Japan, doing business in New York has been a significant challenge. These past six years have been a continuous struggle. However, I am grateful for the growth I have experienced because of it. I hope to give back to the community through Mirror Tea House.”

Those who wish to support Tashiro and Mirror Tea House can make donations online or visit the restaurant in-person, Wednesday through Sunday at 575 Union Street.