A group of young and hungry restaurateurs are hoping that a new style of Japanese dining changes the way that Southwest Florida eats sushi.
Sushi has exploded in popularity during the last decade, going from niche coastal cuisine to the favorite of many Americans, but this increase in demand has also brought with it an increase in prices. That changing dynamic inspired experienced restaurant owner Eddie Pan to come up with a concept that would allow diners to sample a variety of quality sushi dishes at an affordable price. Ginza offers all-you-can-eat sushi and Japanese dining with a twist: it’s not a buffet. The dishes are made fresh as they are ordered, and customers can order until their hearts are content.
“We want to create a concept where people come in, and it’s like a traditional Japanese restaurant, but people can sample more types of sushi for a decent price and in a nice environment,” said Ginza General Manager Andy Chang.
According to Chang, Pan opened the almost 7,000-square foot restaurant in April with the help of three other partners, all of which are former restaurant owners in their 30s. The men are invested not just monetarily but personally; one serves as the kitchen manager, another as a sushi chef. The owners are young, hungry, professionals motivated to put in long hours because they are directly invested in the restaurant’s success.
When the restaurant opened initially on the corner of U.S. 41 and Colonel Boulevard, the owners invested nothing into advertising, hoping to give the staff time to work out any kinks in the new concept. Despite the lack of push for early attention, Chang says business has continued to build gradually as word of mouth brings new customers.
Chang explained that while it is still early, the young restaurateurs are eyeing a possible expansion into Naples in the years to come.
“We are starting to get busy. We have nothing but return customers now, they all love our food,” Chang said.
Despite offering all-you-can-eat while boasting a price point of $13.95 for lunch and $22.95 for dinner, Chang said that the restaurant doesn’t cut corners on quality. They buy the same quality fish and other ingredients one would expect at a more traditional Japanese restaurant. Chang said the large space that is able to feed so many customers helps Ginza offer what is generally thought of as a pricier cuisine at a more reasonable cost.
“It really shouldn’t be that expensive but it has become a prestigious food, the prices went up,” said Chang. “We want to make it so people can really try out the food, regular, normal people. We want a restaurant with great value, great service, and great environment where everyone can come in.”
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