Joshua M. Smith, PhD.

Founder & Owner

Joshua grew up in Buffalo, NY. He lived in Japan for over 13 years both working and studying Japanese culture. Being fluent in both Japanese and English, he obtained a Master's and a  Doctorate in cultural sociology/Japan studies from Osaka University. He developed a passion for Japanese aesthetics, traditional arts like music and the culinary arts, as well as media and entrepreneurialism. 


Joshua is also a certified Sake Sommelier with the Sake School of America and the Sake Service Institute in Japan.

Exploring, studying, and tasting his way through various regions in Japan with his wife and co-founder/Executive Chef Satomi, they developed a love for regional Japanese cuisine, beer and sake. Eventually, a growing desire to share Japanese food, drink, and hospitality in the US emerged and they returned to Buffalo. After having started a Japanese cafe called Serene Gardens on Grand Island, they decided to move and expand their operation into the city in the heart of Buffalo in the Elmwood Village area. Here the SATO brand began and the Sato Restaurant Group was formed. 

The key to any successful business group involves developing a skilled team. Having taught media and communications at Buffalo State College for a number of years after returning from Japan, this gave Josh a basis for handling the media, PR, marketing, social media and website development for the Sato Restaurant Group. His studying of Japanese aesthetics and restaurant design helps guide his creativity in developing the restaurant spaces, concepts, and individual brands that unfold in each unique location. 

With a passion for investigating neighborhoods and potential lcations he developed an interest in real estate. Now he is a licensed real estate salesperson and Realtor with Nichol City Realty and runs his website Buffalo Homes Today