Sushi Sakai, new try on an old piece of the Spokane Valley

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Opening Business in Spokane Valley
Tags: , ,

      Restaurant  and bar owners are like hermit crabs. Most, if not all the older, independent places have had a succession of optimistic new faces eager to set up shop and prove to the Valley they will do better than the last poor soul. They are optimistic for about a week after opening. That is when they start to see some reasons they hadn’t thought of concerning the last guy”s failure. Then they really get crabby.

Most of the original owners who built the building or converted it to a hospitality establishment were the same type, they just had deeper pockets. The location where the new Sushi Sakai just opened at Sprague and Bowdish was built by a national chain called Sambo’s back around 1970. Their story was a little different. I remember when the now glaring flourescent lights up behind the eating bar used to illuminate a colorful mural depicting the old children’s story of little Sambo tricking the hungry tigers into running around in a circle until they turned into butter which he put on his pancakes. The name might have seemed like a good one for a pancake house before the Civil Rights Movement, but it proved to be their undoing in more sensitive times.

Then along comes the hermit crabs. For a while it was an Apple Barrel. Bob and Bev Klassen, Percy Howell’s daughter and son-in-law, gave it a go as Klassen’s Kitchen. Most likely there were a few others that I can’t remember, though I’m sure they well remember even if we don’t. The last one was Old European. They lasted probably longer than anyone and even seemed to be a Valley favorite, almost reaching the status of institution. But the Valley has gotten to be a brutal place for independents with the arrival of Applebee’s and the Valley Mall chains. I guess we got big enough to attract them but not big enough to support the little guys.

Sushi Sakai is a little guy with the next big dream. If he were located in L.A. or Portland and offered the only handcrafted sushi for miles he would be swamped with business. Though he doesn’t seem to speak English, he has been a sushi chef in Spokane for more than 20 years according to our waitress who is a cousin of his wife. To me that means the guy is authentic and knows what he is doing. The sushi he made us said the same thing. I loved his soft shell crab apetizer and Elaine thought the fried ice cream dessert she had was great.

The foursome next to us ordered some huge combination platter that looked fabuloso and they seemed to enjoy it is as they all eagerly partook. But the question is will the Valley eagerly partake and support another small but bold entrepenoir who is offering the fruits of his career and skills and talents. We are fortunate to have his place to choose from when deciding where to enjoy a nice meal. He gives us variety and there are a lot of Valley sushi lovers. Like nearly all those before him, he has paid his dues and has probably earned the right to make this move at this point in his life. But like all the others, he is asking the Valley to choose his place instead of Applebee’s. I say good luck with that and I hope he makes it for his sake and ours.

 

Sushi Sakai on Urbanspoon

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s