After nearly a year of signs promising it will “open soon,” Shiki Hibachi Sushi in Hermiston really is opening Friday.
The Japanese restaurant will offer sushi, tempura, bento meals and a variety of other Japanese foods, along with beer, wine, liquor and Japanese sakes. Some seats will feature an up-close cooking show right in front of the grills.
“Just come in and explore and experience,” manager Zoe Zhou said.
She said Friday will be a soft opening. While there will always be some issues to work out in the first week or two of a new restaurant’s opening, she expects the transition will go smoother than most since the staff have been working shifts at Shiki Hibachi Sushi’s Walla Walla and Kennewick locations.
“All our chefs and workers have been in training at our other locations so when they come in they will be prepared and know what they are doing,” she said.
At the time they signed the lease for the space on the corner of Highway 395 and Elm Avenue — the busiest intersection in Eastern Oregon, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation — there were no other Japanese restaurants in Hermiston, but Kobe Hibachi Sushi opened up shortly thereafter and Shiki Hibachi Sushi wanted to make sure it was offering something different.
Zhou said the restaurant took so long to open because they were concerned about doing things the right way. She said it took time to custom-design decor and kitchen equipment and ship the pieces over from Japan, and navigating liquor license laws and other Oregon regulations for the first time lengthened the process too.
She said she and fellow manager Pin Jiang were excited and nervous to open. The two have extensive experience in the restaurant industry, which for Zhou has ranged from being a server in her family’s restaurant at age 14 to owning her own restaurant in Ellensburg, Washington. She said customer service is especially important to her, and she encouraged people to drop in and ask questions and check out the place even if they aren’t eating there that day.
“I don’t want it to be just a business relationship with my customers — you come, you have dinner, you pay me, you leave,” she said. “I want to do better than that.”
If people want to bring a large party or get one of the six seats in front of the hibachi cooking tops, Zhou suggested they make a reservation.
The restaurant at 1240 N. First St. opens its doors for the first time “about” noon on Friday, Zhou said, but normal hours will be 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 12:20-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30-9 p.m. on Sundays. For more information or to make a reservation call 541-303-1558.
Contact Jade McDowell at email@example.com or 541-564-4536.