May 2, 2011
The sushi revolution is taking over the Queen City and no place more so than Fusian located in the Tower Place Mall downtown. Best described as the Chipotle of Sushi, this local establishment, coming up on its one year anniversary (May 25th) is owned and operated by some pretty easy going guys… brothers Josh and Zach Weprin along with friend Stephan Harman.
The backstory for these close buds who grew up in Dayton is rather endearing. They claim, from a very early age, to have always dreamt of starting a business together, and now that they have we will never now if it just makes for a good part of the story or if these boys, as five-year-olds, were truly that visionary. Either way, I’m impressed.
Stephan studied Entrepreneurship at the University of Dayton while Josh and Zach both attended the Ohio State University business school. As recent college graduates they were still familiar with the college dining establishments on the campus scene but noticed a lack of fresh and affordable sushi. Either it was out of their price range or that Kroger supermarket stuff never did the trick. So here comes the magic light bulb: we loved the fast-casual restaurant model and thought we could do it too. And so it goes… Fusian was born.
Of course jumping into the restaurant/service industry is never an easy feat, but somehow I think the Fusian sushi boys’ laid back attitude is befitting. And each one plays a pivotal role in the success of the business: Zach – Sales and Customer/Business Relations ; Josh – Site Selection and Customer Service; Stephan – Internal Operations and Marketing. Don’t let the titles fool you, however, these guys follow the “all for one, one for all,” motto in their friendship and personal lives.
It’s a collective and collaborative effort to make the business run smoothly, and apparently learning the ins and outs of the trade has not been tremendously difficult especially with the help of culinary expert, Chef Nick Rivet. Rather, the most challenging aspect is introducing sushi to people and dispelling the myth that sushi is simply raw fish. And it is a testament to their early success, that this isn’t even much of a challenge. Thanks to the social media revolution, Fusian markets itself predominantly through the use of facebook and twitter. Additionally, the boys have found success in either hosting events on site (YELP! will be having one soon) and/or by supplying food at parties and events. It serves as a relatively inexpensive, yet effective way to build the Fusian brand and philosophy.
I ventured to Fusian for the first time the other week, and while I have no problem devouring sushi, I was new to this Chipotle like ordering process. Not to worry though, the Fusian boys will charismatically guide you through every step of the way. My order (prepare yourself for mouthwatering jealousy): seaweed wrap, spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, carrots, ginger, wasabi, and sesame seeds. Eight pieces of awesomeness for a mere $6.92 (that’s including tax).
Now I asked the Fusian boys what their dream roll would include: Seaweed wrap, chicken, crab mix, cream cheese, green onion, asparagus, topped with wasabi mayo, sriracha, sesame seeds and masago. Mental note – yes, they can tailor the sushi roll to any and all of your palate needs.
Close to a year in the making these boys show no signs of slowing down, just the opposite in fact. “We want to share our food and philosophy with as many people as we can. Our growth plan is to make easy.casual.sushi. available in local communities and college campuses,” they said. “We are currently working on pursuing our second location, stay tuned for details.” My attempt to pry more information out of them with a wasabi bomb was a failure, but they did promise iSPYCINCY the exclusive deetswhen any deal becomes final:)
These easy.casual.guys want the company to be an extension of their mentality, lifestyle, and persona, and if it were simply my opinion that mattered most, I would say they are, if not already, well on their way to achieving such goals. But don’t believe everything you read (lol); judge for yourself and try it out. The Fusian boys will be happy to meet you, and you’ll be happy you came.
*Photo credits: My Cute Ladybug Photography and Fusianto top ↑