Butterfly Effect: Itsu May Return to U.S.

As the summer approaches, two foreign dining establishments will have landed on the banks of the Potomac – ready to serve Asian cuisine. Yo! Sushi will have opened its first American outpost at Union Station while Wagamama will finally welcome guests on seventh street. Both concepts will be closely monitored by their owners. But another sushi chain called Itsu will also be monitoring the success of Yo! and Wagamama.

Founded in 1997 by Julian Metcalfe, Itsu is a thriving upmarket chain in the U.K. It came briefly to New-York City via a partnership that eventually didn’t work. Sites were shut down or later re-branded. But the popularity of Asian cuisine and international dining establishments in D.C could work in Itsu’s favor. “[We] may well open in the US in the next couple of years,” said an Itsu representative. “This time we will operate the stores ourselves to ensure they’re as good as the Itsu we have come to know and expect here in the UK.”


Is Yo! Sushi Bound for Chinatown?

According to The Post, Yo! Sushi MAYBE headed for a prominent location in Chinatown. These Brits really know how to pick the best locations. Pret has been on a leasing spree; renting prime real estate around the city. Anyways, Yo! has been actively looking for sites and Chinatown was on their radar so this latest development, if true, comes as no surprise. W

Note: Yo! Sushi Union Station is still scheduled for an early 2012 opening.

Yo! Union Station – Part II

Additional details are coming in via a press release regarding Yo! Sushi.  Highlights are below.

1. There will be at least 10 restaurants in the mid-Atlantic corridor between Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. YO! Sushi anticipates five to 10 locations open and operating in the U.S. by the end of 2012.

2. In conjunction with The Sushi Company of North America, LLC, led by Richard Pawlowski, Yo! Sushi will focus on the East Coast and other major markets like Chicago, Dallas and Miami for initial U.S. expansion.

3. Chinatown and Georgetown are top contenders for future sites.

Yo! Union Station

Cheeky title for this post, but Yo!Sushi from the U.K. is arriving at Union Station early next year, according to Fast Casual. “We have had many approaches from all sorts of companies in the U.S. over the years, but have held out for an outstanding partner with the operational and financial capability to grow at a pace,” said Robin Rowland, YO!Sushi’s CEO. “We are also in discussions with several other highly qualified franchise partners for other U.S. territories.”

With Chipotle’s ShopHouse Asian concept opening tomorrow and Wagamama also opening early next year, these chains are sure to form an intense battle. Lucky us! All we need now is a Yotel.


Teaser: We are hoping to interview the man responsible for ShopHouses’ interior look…stay tuned!

The Extended Rundown

Travel: “Qantas aircraft (A380) could have exploded,” according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Yikes. Rival Boeing has its fair share of problems. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Theaters: It’s the end of a saga. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I is unveiled this week.

Design: If only America’s supermarkets could entice customers with great design for food packaging…(see above)

Media: Former BBC/CNN news presenter Adrian Finighan joins Al-Jazeera English. (@afinighan)

Cars: Fiat 500 is unveiled at the Los-Angeles Auto Show. (NPR)

Dining: Following an article on DCist, I made some inquiries. Yo! Sushi (below) will enter the DC market in the “second or third quarter” of 2011, David Gonzales of development told The Internationalist. He expects Yo! Sushi to have five locations in the district. The company will eventually expand into Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Yo! Sushi joins a long line of foreign dining concepts entering the DC market; Pret A Manager, PAUL, PingPong, Nandos, Wagamama (TBD), Vapiano, La Tasca…

(Credit: YoSushi/Sanderson & Associates)