Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

Sushi Maru uses fresh approach; Brandon Blockbuster closing

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 blockbuster.com, 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 wobusa.com, or call the Brandon location at (813) 324-8908.

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