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MIAMI—As part of its continuing expansion strategy, Benihana has signed lease agreements for four new restaurants spread among its three concepts, the company has announced.

The Japanese and sushi restaurant chain will open RA Sushi Bars in Houston and South Miami, FL, a Haru Sushi unit in Boston and a Benihana restaurant in Plymouth Meeting, PA. The Houston unit will open in spring 2008, with the others opening late this year.

“Each site offers compelling demographics, and we are confident that over time, our customers will learn to appreciate our menu quality as well as the comfortable and inviting dining experience we offer across all of our brands. We look forward to building a long and successful relationship in each community,” said Joel A. Schwartz, president, in the press release announcing the deals.

The locations span retail formats from lifestyle centers to street-fronts and a regional mall. The Houston Ra Sushi Bar will be located in City Center, a 30-acre, mixed-use project adjacent to Town and Country Village lifestyle center. The South Miami unit will be on the ground floor of a multi-story parking garage.

The Boston Haru sushi will be located in the Prudential Center, the mixed-use complex in the city’s Back Bay. The Benihana teppanyaki restaurant will open in the Plymouth Meeting Mall.

Earlier in the fiscal year, the company had said it would expand its three concepts slowly, with a focus on growing Ra Sushi to as many as 100 units. For fiscal 2008, the plan was to open two to four Benihanas and six to eight Ra Sushi units.

As of Jan. 8, the company operated 79 restaurants nationwide, including 59 teppanyaki restaurants, seven Haru sushi restaurants, and 13 RA Sushi Bar restaurants.

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