Make us your home page

Sushi Maru uses fresh approach; Brandon Blockbuster closing

Christina Lim of Bradenton opened Sushi Maru in October at 2020 W Brandon Blvd. Her boyfriend, Luis Aragon Canseco, left, and father, Ssami, are the sushi chefs.

ERIC VICIAN | Special to the Times

Christina Lim of Bradenton opened Sushi Maru in October at 2020 W Brandon Blvd. Her boyfriend, Luis Aragon Canseco, left, and father, Ssami, are the sushi chefs.

BRANDON — Christina Lim remembers growing up around sushi restaurants.

Her parents, Ssami and Sojung, owned and operated a pair of sushi eateries in Tampa and Bradenton and she used to help wherever she could, polishing silverware, ladling soup and fetching drinks before becoming a server as a teenager. She remembers that when someone ordered alcohol, she had to ask her mom to pour it.

The 25-year-old Bradenton resident still has the support of her parents, but now she can pour her own sake as owner of the new Sushi Maru restaurant, which opened Oct. 16 at 2020 W Brandon Blvd.

Lim takes over a spot near Outback Steakhouse that used to house Kabuki Japanese Restaurant. Her parents co-own the establishment, but are helping in different ways. Her mother, Sojung, doubles as a kitchen chef, while her father, Ssami, works as a sushi chef along with Lim's boyfriend, Luis Aragon Canseco.

"I've always had a business mind," said Lim, who created approximately seven jobs with the opening. "Sushi to me is art. Nothing should be prerolled. I will not serve something that has been prerolled."

The name Maru means ring or circle, which "is like a never-ending link to family," Lim said.

There are plenty of sushi options, and most rolls go for $12.99 and $13.99 on average. So far, Lim said, diners seem to be leaning toward the Playboy, which is a deep-fried shrimp roll with crab salad and avocado, as well as the Dynamite roll, which is Sushi Maru's takeoff of a California roll with avocado, scallops and crab salad.

Various Korean dishes also dot the menu, including Gal Bi, or short ribs, for $20. There is also a wide selection of cold sake.

There are plenty of spicy options on the menu as well, and homemade yum yum sauce that is not so spicy.

"We made it our style," Lim said. "We are Korean. We like everything hot."

The restaurant seats about 80 in a modernized, renovated setting, and there is a built-in call button at each table. Diners can press the button to ring a server in the back, who will return to the table for service.

"I've got really good servers," Lim said.

Sushi Maru is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is (813) 657-6278.

Blockbuster closing: Then there was one

The last Blockbuster store in east Hillsborough will go out of business Nov. 22. The location at 901 W Brandon Blvd. has posted signs that it is closing.

That leaves the location at 12059 Anderson Road in Tampa as the last remaining brick-and-mortar Blockbuster in the county, according to the Blockbuster website. Customers also have the option of using the next closest store, at 2380 Griffin Road in Lakeland.

Blockbuster, which boasted more than 9,000 stores at its peak in 2004, found heavy competition from Netflix and Redbox and filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

Dish Network bought the company in April 2011, including the remaining 1,700 stores, but has closed more than 1,000 since the acquisition.

Blockbuster still offers a mail subscription program as well as an on-demand app. It also sells new and previously viewed movies at, where gift cards can be redeemed as well.

A call and email to Blockbuster's Englewood, Colo., corporate headquarters seeking comment were not returned by press time.

Call the Brandon store at (813) 653-0334 for details.

World of Beer opens in Brandon

The craft beer tavern has just opened its first location in Brandon. Located at 2878 Providence Lakes Blvd., it is World of Beer's seventh location in the Tampa Bay area.

All locations feature the new Tavern Fare menu, which includes craft beer-infused appetizers and lighter options such as salads and sesame-seared ahi tuna. The chain has also introduced craft beer-infused cocktails that use craft spirits from local distilleries.

For information, visit, or call the Brandon location at (813) 324-8908.

Sushi Maru uses fresh approach; Brandon Blockbuster closing 10/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, October 31, 2013 2:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  2. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  3. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Ford's Garage opens new Westchase spot


    Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week.

    hillsevbiz081817: Ford's Garage opened its sixth Florida location in Westchase this week. Photo courtesy of Ford's Garage
  5. Carls Patio celebrates great outdoor furnishings in Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — While many northerners are shoveling snow, Floridians are lounging poolside in the middle of winter.

    hillsevbiz081817: After selling outdoor and patio furniture in locations in South Florida since 1993, Carls Patio has opened its first store to open in the Tampa Bay area and there are plans for more. Photo courtesy of Carls Patio.