Founder of Benihana dies

Tokyo-born Rocky Aoki was 69 when he died last night in New York, Bloomberg reports. The Benihana version of Japanese teppanyaki cooking began in New York, but of course they were big here. Aoki's death follows by a week that of Isaac Starkman, co-founder of Jerry Deli, which was an L.A. creation. As LA Observed reader David Cotner notes in an email, "It's been a vaguely brutal year for the founders of fast food establishments - the visionaries behind Carl's Jr., Fatburger, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, Baskin-Robbins, Taco Bell, Baker's Drive-Thru (out in Riverside County, from where most of these meat mavens seemed to come), and Hardee's all passed on in 2008."

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