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Update: Strawberry Cones closed in 2010.

Saturday's grand opening in San Gabriel marked the formal arrival of Japanese pizza chain Strawberry Cones to the United States. Located in a mini-mall adjacent to the Hilton Hotel, the chain opened their first store in Sendai in 1983, and currently has 200 stores in Japan. International expansion first took place with a 2008 opening in Vancouver, Canada.

As one might imagine, Strawberry Cones offers a distinctly Japanese take on pizza. The Mochi Mentai features mentaiko, mochi and finely chopped seaweed in addition to cheeses, on a black crust of bamboo charcoal, called chikutan. A dessert pizza, meanwhile, is topped with walnuts, raisins, maple syrup and powdered sugar. In a continued effort to add their own twist to pizza making, rice flour is also added to the dough, giving the crust a uniquely chewy texture. For those less adventurous, more traditional pizzas such as the Meat Paradise and Vegetarian are available, as are pastas and appetizers. Delivery is available to area residents, and the operators hope to expand to Little Tokyo and possibly West Los Angeles by the end of the year.

Strawberry Cones (closed): 227 W. Valley Blvd. #118B, San Gabriel; (626) 293-1852.

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