Yoshinoya D&C Co. said Tuesday it will serve “gyudon” bowls of beef-on-rice for one day only on Feb. 11 to mark the first anniversary since the popular dish disappeared from the chain.

Yoshinoya, which had been serving gyudon since 1899, was forced to pull its mainstay fare from the menu last year after emptying its inventory following the import ban on U.S. beef in December 2003.

On Feb. 11, National Foundation Day, the chain will serve the dish at all of its some 1,000 outlets nationwide. A regular size bowl will go for 300 yen. The company said it will prepare some 1.5 million servings.

Yoshinoya used to serve some 800,000 gyudon dishes daily on weekdays.

The company said it obtained the 116 tons of U.S. beef necessary for the special day by procuring beef imported before the ban by other companies. It also will use some Australian and Mexican beef.

Yoshinoya and its gyudon have become a symbol of the U.S. beef ban, and the chain has been struggling to come up with alternative dishes.

Tokyo and Washington have yet to iron out differences over how to verify the age of young cattle, a sticking point in lifting the ban placed after the discovery of a case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in late 2003.

Asked about the outlook for lifting the ban, Yoshinoya President Shuji Abe declined to make a prediction.

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