By Lauren Wong
If you like sushi, you have to check out Sushi Friend in Phoenix. Located at 8727 N Central Ave, this friendly neighborhood joint serves only the tastiest of rolls with fresh, quality ingredients you can not only taste, but see.
With their open concept restaurant you get to watch the magic happen as the chefs go to work on your order. You can watch it all come together piece by piece.
“I got started because I went to a mutual friend’s gathering and one of the executive chefs for a big restaurant was there and knew I was looking for a job of any sort. He asked me if I could come to do sushi. I just started in the back with the prep guy in 2003,” Kevin Min, Owner and Chef of Sushi Friend says. “And here I am.”
Everything kind of just fell into place. Owning his own restaurant was never a goal, “I actually never wanted to open my own [restaurant] because I didn’t want to deal with a gazillion people’s personalities,” Min says. “While I was doing catering I found this concept with the self order kiosk system.”
During the first quarantine of Covid, one of his big corporate contracts with catering got canceled. “It really pushed me to do this restaurant,” Min explains. Sushi Friend opened on Christmas Eve, 2021.
The name of the place describes it all, everything is sushi. I’ve been living in Arizona almost a year now and have never found a place that could compare to what I’d get when I lived in Florida. Sushi Friend topped the charts.
“We cut out the middle man, from the chef to the table. So, when customers come in they get to directly interact with us. I think they like that and that’s why we keep getting the regulars here,” Min says. “I mean you can go get a California roll at any sushi bar, so we try to give the best service and be kind. Give a little more, take a little less.”
His favorite is the Chef’s Special. “It’s how I eat my sushi. I put what I eat, how I eat it, all into one plate,” Min says. “When I first started it was just me before I had any help. So, I wanted something that I could produce fast, but also taste good. It’s just how I eat it, how I like it.”
For right now the goal is just to continue growing the brand, but eventually Min would like to open a few more locations out of state.
“We had a sergeant come in here and tell us how clean we are so I tell that to everyone… A sergeant likes us!” Min shares.
Truly a hidden gem, if you like sushi you’ve got to add this spot on your list of places to hit. You won’t be disappointed.