Established in 1953.
Bush Garden is a historic restaurant that originated in Seattle's Chinatown in 1953. Started by Kaichi Seko, the restaurant, initially located in the Bush Hotel on Jackson Street, quickly gained popularity and became a favorite spot for various social gatherings and events. In 1957, due to increased demand, the restaurant relocated to a larger space on Maynard Avenue South, where Kaichi partnered with his son, Roy and soon-to-be wife, Joan. The new location was transformed into a picturesque Japanese village with elaborate decor, including a Shinto temple-style gate, traditional carvings, and a working waterfall. The restaurant's unique ambiance and authentic Japanese cuisine attracted a diverse clientele.
Father Kaichi Seko and son Roy Seko
Over the years, Bush Garden continued to thrive, expanding its operations with partnerships in Portland and San Francisco. In the late 1960s/early 70's, the restaurant made history by introducing karaoke to the United States, becoming the first karaoke bar in America. Despite the changing dining landscape in Seattle and the decline of the neighborhood due to urban development, Bush Garden remained a beloved establishment, particularly among the Asian American-Pacific Islander community.
After Roy and Joan Seko retired in 1996, Bush Garden was sold to Masaharu Sakata and Karen Akada. After 10 years of continuing the Bush Garden legacy, they decided to close the restaurant and remain open as a bar and karaoke lounge.
In 2018 the Bush Garden building was sold to developers. Their plans of redevelopment did not and does not align with Bush Garden's community values, vision, or morals. During the pandemic, Bush Garden closed their doors and moved out of 614 Maynard Ave., after 64 years with plans to reopen at Uncle Bob's Place.