Feasts and Spirits attended the pre grand opening of Sushiōki in Durham on February 18, 2018. We had a great time learning about this unique restaurant from co-owners Jeff and Lawrence who have a pharmacy and pastoral background respectively. Sushiōki offers large fusion sushi rolls which blend Lawrence’s Korean roots with southern tastes and sushi staples. The concept was born following a trip to California by Lawrence in which he tried Sushirrito, an Asian and Latin fusion restaurant where he fell in love with the idea of a burrito styled sushi roll. He shared the idea with Jeff and the idea quickly grew legs. Both families are heavily involved in the restaurant’s operations. Ōki means ‘BIG’ in Japanese which is fitting for these massive Sushi burritos!
Sushiōki is in the business of doing great things for the community. Their primary mission is to provide refugees in the area with a living wage and the owners take pride in offering a living wage to all employees. We were educated in some of the barriers facing refugees as they come to our country and this made us appreciate the restaurant’s purpose that much more. Refugees have to pay back the government for coming to our country and are immediately starting from behind on top of being uprooted from their home country. Sushiōki looks to ease this transition for refugees by providing a living wage and flexible schedule to allow for family time during this difficult transition period. In the long term, Sushiōki would love to expand and provide more living wage opportunities for other refugees in need.
Right now Sushiōki is focused on catering to the RTP lunch and after work crowd with their hours of 11am through 8pm Mondays through Saturday. Sundays are an off day for all employees and treated as a day of rest. Their style was described to us as fast/casual which allows for a quick lunch break treat for the working professional. They would like to expand into catering but this is still an exploratory venture as the restaurant will be officially opening tomorrow.
Feasts and Spirits tried the Bull City Bulgogi which consists of Korean Beef BBQ, kimchi slaw, pickled daikon, and topped with boom sauce. This was amazing with the rice and seaweed wrap and had just the right amount of spice. This was our favorite roll of the night. The spice was tempered perfectly by some of the house made cinnamon sugar rice chips.
We also tried the Titan Tempur which had tempura shrimp, lettuce, pickled cucumber, shredded carrot and a sweet Thai chili sauce. In addition we were also able to try the RDYoo which has poké marinated raw tuna, lettuce, cucumber, pickled red onion, pickled ginger, and cucumber wasabi sauce. This had a true sushi feel to it. Both of these choices are highly recommended by us.
Sushiōki’s menu is full of healthy choices from top to bottom. Lawrence by nature is not a huge fan of vegetables and stated “we wanted to make veggies so good that even I would like them”. They definitely succeeded in making healthy options delicious. There are even great nutritious kid’s meals offered for the younger crowd.
Feasts and Spirits was excited to share this experience with Sushiōki and wish them well as they start their journey. Thanks for having us!