Yuji Haraguchi, the founder of Okonomi and Yuji Ramen (150 Ainslie St.) and Okonomi Market (290 Graham Ave.), has been shown support from the local North Brooklyn community amid an ongoing lawsuit with supermarket chain Wegmans.

Haraguchi’s Okonomi and Yuji Ramen is a Japanese restaurant doing double duty in Williamsburg. By day, Okonomi serves ichiju-sansai set meals, and at night, the small space transforms into Yuji Ramen with a menu of seafood-focused ramen dishes.

Haraguchi’s other Williamsburg space, Okonomi Market, used to go by the name Osakana Brooklyn. Osakana, which translates to sakanaya or fish market in Japanese, is a small chain of Japanese-style fish markets that Haraguchi founded in 2016 with two other locations in the East Village and Midtown.

Yuji Haraguchi holding a bonito fish at Osakana. Photo: Osakana’s Instagram

After operating these successful businesses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Haraguchi was lined up to partner with Wegmans on the supermarket’s new Japanese fish market concept, however, this partnership never materialized, and Haraguchi and Wegmans are now involved in a lawsuit.

The potential partnership began when Haraguchi signed a non-disclosure agreement and a non-compete agreement in August 2023, followed by a letter of intent in September.


“I disclosed all of my trade secrets, practices, and all the financial information,” Haraguchi said in a recent petition.  “I invited them to come into my store in the East Village and Midtown locations and showed them everything. They even took our sushi class. I was committed to fulfilling my responsibilities during the due-diligence period.”

Osakana’s Instagram post portraying the similar logos of Osakana and Sakanaya.

In October 2023, Wegmans opened a fish market in the chain’s new Astor Place location, not far from Osakana’s East Village location. Wegmans named the fish market Sakanaya and used a font that appears almost identical to Osakana’s logo. Haraguchi found out about Sakanaya’s opening from a customer who congratulated him on the partnership with Wegmans.

On November 20, 2023, one month after Wegmans opened Sakanaya, Haraguchi received a call from Wegmans broker who told him the company was “no longer interested” in partnering with him. “That’s how they backed out the deal,” Haraguchi said.

Sushi from Osakana. Photo: Osakana’s Instagram

In January 2024, Haraguchi created on online petition detailing his experience with Wegmans in an effort to save his small businesses. 

After attempting to reach a settlement outside of court, Haraguchi filed a formal complaint on February 13, 2024 against Wegmans claiming that Sakanaya is in breach of the signed non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, and guilty of infringement of common law trademark, referring to a regional trademark that is confusingly similar to another.

“We have received tremendous support from so many people after we officially filed the lawsuit against Wegmans,” Haraguchi told Greenpointers.  “We are so grateful. Our business noticeably picked up.”

Fish from Osakana’s East Village location. Photo: Osakana

In a statement to Greenpointers, Tracy Van Auker, a publicist for Wegmans, wrote, “At Wegmans, we are committed to offering our customers the freshest, highest-quality seafood in our stores. We are proud of our 14+ year relationship with Uoriki, which has elevated our seafood and sushi program across the company, including at our Astor Place store. We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed against us regarding our fish market, Sakanaya, within our Astor Place store. We are confident that the claims against Wegmans are without merit.”

“Now, I realize that it’s not really about what Osakana or Sakanaya literally means in Japanese or English. It’s all about the goodwill we have built in the last 12 years,” Haraguchi told Greenpointers, explaining that he opened Yuji Ramen back in 2012, and every business that he opened since is connected. Haraguchi said that this goodwill is “the true value of Osakana, and that needs to be protected.”

Haraguchi also noted that the support of the community is what led to the current discussions with Wegmans. “It’s in our best interest to come to a settlement with them and just move on as soon as possible. This won’t benefit any of us if we just continue to argue,” Haraguchi said. “Hopefully, they will come to an agreement with us.”

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