Sushi and burritos make an ideal combination at Sushinista, a new restaurant that celebrated its grand opening Friday.
Inspired by Chipotle, owners Hirokazu Nishikawa and his wife Takako Nishikawa said they hope to bring together the efficiency of the Mexican fast-food chain and the distinct taste of Japanese sushi, creating a sushi burrito. The restaurant is located at 2235 Milvia St., across from Berkeley High School.
“Sushi has a stereotype of being expensive — we hope to change that,” Hirokazu Nishikawa said. “Even though we are not using raw fish like other luxurious Japanese restaurants, we can still use fresh vegetables to make delicious sushi foods.”
Influenced by his grandfather, who runs a renowned Japanese restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, Hirokazu Nishikawa said he has dreamed of owning his own restaurant since he was a child.
“(He) started to build realistic plans two years ago, but (he) was committed to working at a Japanese sake company in Berkeley, so it took time to realize the plan,” Takako Nishikawa said. In March, Hirokazu Nishikawa finally quit the company to open Sushinista.
Hirokazu Nishikawa predicts the restaurant’s main customers will be Berkeley High students and workers on Shattuck Avenue, but Sushinista has already started attracting UC Berkeley students.
Campus freshman Fred Nam said the new restaurant will be a unique addition to the restaurant scene in Berkeley.
“(Sushinista) is adding diversity to the food being offered (in the) Berkeley community,” Nam said. “The concept of fusing burrito with Japanese is quite innovational.”
Takako Nishikawa said the restaurant hopes to serve cost-effective and healthy sushi burritos — large quasi-sushi rolls with vegetables and protein wrapped in rice and seaweed — while maintaining the distinct flavors of Japanese cuisine.
UC Berkeley freshman Johnny Song said he was surprised by the amount of quality food, despite its inexpensive cost.
“It (will be) affordable for Cal students and yet provide healthy nutrients and great taste,” Song said.
As Sushinista gets settled in Berkeley, Hirokazu Nishikawa said the restaurant will focus on selling sushi burritos. Takako Nishikawa noted, however, that they plan on applying for an alcohol license and extending its business hours.
“(The) people of Berkeley are very health-conscious. We will try our best to involve as much local, fresh ingredients as possible,” Takako Nishikawa said.
Contact Jason Kim at [email protected]
The headline attached to a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Sushinista is located on Shattuck Avenue. In fact, Sushinista is located on Milvia Street.