LA Agency 'Adopts' Japanese Restaurant, Wins Addy For Soup-To-Nuts Makeover

Every restaurant should have customers like the folks at LA-based agency Arcana Academy. 

The agency has taken under its wing a Japanese bistro, which also happens to be a staff lunch spot favorite. 

Like many restaurants the bistro has been hit pretty hard by the pandemic. 

But not only did it get one heck of a brand makeover—pro bono—it’s also getting a food order from the agency everyday for a year. That’s quite an endorsement. 

The makeover transformed the eatery from a sushi takeout joint to an upscale bistro renamed Michi Japanese Kitchen. (The owner and master chef is Michiyo “Michi” Wilson. 

“We love the food and have the utmost respect for the kind of community Michi creates,” says Lee Walters, co-founder, Arcana. “She’s exactly the kind of person you want to see succeed, so early on we vowed to do everything we could to help make sure Michi comes out on the other side of this stronger.” 



The refresh also includes a new logo, new photography, menus, table toppers, signage and a new interior ambiance that takes inspiration from the traditional Japanese home. 

The agency even did a food audit and reorganized the menu to emphasize profit drivers and downplay or jettison less popular items. 

And while the agency was busy giving back with the makeover, the makeover in turn gave a little something back to the agency as it inspired it to reorganize its own presentation. In place of a long portfolio of varied creative assignments, it reorganized its own menu of services, introducing sections to showcase business consultation, branding and design work from traditional advertising. 

Like they say, Karma is a boomerang.

Arcana co-founder Shane Hutton adds that “We wanted to give Michi a gift that will generate money, pride and recognition over the long term. A project like this makes the power of advertising personal, endearing and soul rewarding. It’s also a fine showcase of what we do.”  

Last week the agency found out it won a regional silver Addy for a portion of the redesign.   

Yeah, there’s that boomerang again.

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