The opening of a new sushi restaurant in Isla Vista could leave competition between sushi purveyors tighter than a well-rolled maki.
Sushiya, a Los Angeles-based franchise, opened an I.V. branch on Sept. 30. The new eatery is located at 955 Embarcadero del Mar — previously the site of TJ’s Grill — and is owned by former sushi chef instructor Bruce Lee. Sushiya is I.V.’s third sushi restaurant, but Lee said he is not worried about the competition from CaliRoll Express and Sushi Teri because the four Sushiya restaurants in Los Angeles have always done well.
Lee said he thinks his experience in the food industry will help his sushi surpass that offered by I.V.’s other sushi restaurants.
“We have better sushi,” Lee said. “Our food is just different, and every chef makes a different taste. I have a lot of experience. I used to teach chefs in Los Angeles.”
Sushiya is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Lee said, and features a menu of breakfast sushi, in addition to more traditional rolls. He said he thinks the restaurant’s long hours and early-morning sushi options will help Sushiya to succeed in I.V., despite the competition.
“I don’t worry,” Lee said. “All restaurants have a different style and taste. My business mission is that my customer is my new baby and I want to take care of it.”
Jay Lee, the manager of CaliRoll Express at 888 Embarcadero del Norte, said he is not worried about competition either. Lee said he thinks his customers will stay faithful to CaliRoll.
“I don’t really have a problem with it,” Jay Lee said. “I was expecting competition would come sooner or later. We’re really confident in our customers. We have really loyal customers. Like, a lot of people come in everyday or every other day. We know our customers by name.”
Jay Lee said he thinks CaliRoll Express will not make any major changes to combat the new competition, unless Sushiya begins to affect the restaurant’s business.
“Well, I’m just kind of waiting to see the response,” Lee said. “I’m just waiting to see if changes need to be made. We’re planning to do promotions, like stamp cards. I was planning to do that even before I knew about the other place opening.”