Sushi Remix’s Customizable Poke Bowls Are Something for Everyone
By Adam Lansdell
There’s no question about it. Sushi and other Japanese culinary staples have become more widely accepted and sought out within the United States in the past decade. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your inner circle who isn’t a fan.
One such fan of the delicacy is Alayna Wesner, owner of Sushi Remix. With locations in Bay City and Saginaw, this unique concept is sure to bring more fans on board. The region’s first eatery of its kind took shape in June 2018 and offers guests a variation of sushi known as the poke bowl (pronounced poh-kay). Like variety bowls you can find at fast-casual dining concepts like Chipotle, guests are encouraged to select ingredients to create a unique fusion dining experience.
“The idea to open Sushi Remix came to me while on a vacation in California. When it came time to look for a place to grab dinner, I stumbled upon a poke restaurant that was just around the corner,” said Wesener. “I decided to give it a try. When I took my first bite, I literally proclaimed out loud ‘I am going to open a poke bowl restaurant!’”From then on, the concept seemingly haunted Wesener – lingering in the back of her mind, waiting to be brought to life. Realizing the idea had become a passion, Wesener took the leap. While she is recognizing that the Great Lakes Bay region had many successful sushi restaurants, she was undeterred, knowing the region was ready for a new take. With the help of her husband and co-owner, Aaron, her dream became a reality.
So, what makes poke similar to sushi? It’s all about the ingredients. Each bowl is essentially a deconstructed sushi roll. Sushi Remix dubs them “sushi’s cool little cousin.”
Guests begin by selecting a serving size and either a rice or spring mix base. They then are encouraged to select from fresh protein options such as tuna, salmon, tofu or shrimp. From there, the customization expands to mix-ins like avocado or edamame, sauces like wasabi or eel and toppings like tempura flakes or ginger. The combinations are seemingly endless, ensuring each bowl is the perfect fit for the customer.
If customization isn’t your thing or you want to take a tour before stepping into the driver’s seat, Sushi Remix also offers predetermined combinations on its recipe. According to Wesener, the California bowl is the brand’s most popular menu item. The item is just as you’d assume: a remix on a classic sushi favorite.
“It’s our take on the classic California roll. It also happens to be the best option for our guests who love sushi, but are not necessarily fans of raw fish,” explained Wesener. “We sell three times more Californication bowls than any other item on the menu.”
The restaurant also offers a host of bubble/boba teas, which are similarly customizable and equally as sought after. Traditionally, the popular Japanese concoction is uses a tea base that’s combined with a milk or fruit flavoring and then accented by jell-like pearls known as bobas – typically made from tapioca starch. The unique combination is a cultural favorite; however, Sushi Remix provides its own twist in terms of flavoring options.
“We work with a local Bay City-based company, Real Flavors, to have our own line of custom flavors created. We still have all of the traditional flavors, but we also have fun combinations like cherry cola, a cola flavored tea with cherry boba or orange creamsicle, an orange/vanilla cream soda flavored tea with honey boba.”
Aside from being a concept that’s unique to the Great Lakes Bay region, the idea speaks to another booming group: the health conscious. Sushi Remix serves as a perfect option for rushed individuals seeking something fresh, organic and nutritious. The variety offered inherently fits every individual’s dietary needs and promotes adopting healthy habits.
“We definitely have something for everyone. We can easily accommodate low-carbohydrate, Keto, low-calorie, gluten-free and vegan diets, just to name a few,” said Wesener. “This wasn’t necessarily a conscious component of our business model, but more so a happy accident due to the healthy and versatile nature of poke.”
Sushi Remix aims to continue providing innovation to the region and anticipates the business continually growing via the introduction of new ingredients and sauces. When the timing is right, Sushi Remix hopes to open a third location, potentially within a franchise model to reach areas beyond the region. However, the company isn’t in a rush, recognizing that the support it has found here in its own backyard is a huge component to the success.
To learn more about Sushi Remix, visit sushiremix.com.