A POPULAR restaurant in one community has closed after 15 years, and customers fear nothing can replace the chic location.
Sushi Roku has been serving the Phoenix area for more than a decade, but the chain’s W Scottsdale location officially served its last customers on July 31.
“With the lease ending in July, the owner of Sushi Roku has decided to focus on its other current locations and expansion plans in other cities,” the company said in a press release, as reported by The Phoenix New Times.
The silver lining for Sushi Roku fans is that the chain is eyeing expansion.
Two new stores are slated to open in both California and Austin, Texas, the company said on Instagram.
However, since the announcement of Phoenix’s closure, the chain has seen a spate of support and disappointment.
“I am so happy to have been part of such a great team! Sushi Roku Scottsdale will forever be in my heart and in my memory,” one user wrote after the announcement.
Another lamented the lack of other first date options.
“Where do I take my dates?” said the disappointed customer.
After opening in 2008, Sushi Roku quickly gained traction throughout the Phoenix community, particularly as a romantic spot for couples.
In 2021, the Phoenix New Times ranked the restaurant among the top 11 for a date night.
And it was also awarded a spot in the 11 Best Sushi Places list for 2020.
“You might be tempted to skip Sushi Roku on principle — it’s a lively chain restaurant in downtown Scottsdale’s ultra-stylish selfie capital, the W Scottsdale Hotel. But the restaurant’s artfully prepared menu of nigiri and sushi options is hard to beat. “up,” the New Times previously wrote of the sushi chain.
At the Sushi Roku location, the W Hotel is planning to open a brand new restaurant and will continue to employ most of the former employees.
SUSHI ROKU’S STORY
Sushi Roku started out as a mainstay in Hollywood.
After opening the first location in 1997, the fine-dining restaurant grew to five locations throughout Southern California and Las Vegas.
It then focused on Palo Alto and Austin as future growth areas.
While there are no plans to return to Phoenix with a new location, Sushi Roku remains confident about the company’s future growth.
“Innovative Dining Group loves the Scottsdale and greater Phoenix area and hopes to return one day,” the company said in a statement.
While Sushi Roku’s closure comes as the chain seeks to expand into new markets, many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat due to changing market conditions.
In the aftermath of the coronavirus, many restaurants have suffered from staff shortages and low sales as people stay at home.
Post-pandemic, rising inflation and economic uncertainty kept consumer spending low, although leases and food prices remained high.
Several Hardee’s were closed this week after a Wyoming franchisee filed for bankruptcy.
And earlier this year, two Burger King and one Popeyes franchises also filed for bankruptcy.
Due to the bankruptcies, Burger King has announced that it may close 400 branches this year.
Meanwhile, famed sandwich chain Subway has closed over 1,000 stores in recent years due to ongoing financial woes.
The retailers also suffered from the lower customer frequency in the stationary shops.
Aldi closed a store in Rensselaer, New York on July 26.
After that, there are no big grocery stores in the small town directly across from Albany on the Hudson River.
Aldi also closed its doors in Canton, Ohio, as several other grocers reduced the number of underperforming stores in their fleets.
One of the biggest indicators of the current retail apocalypse is the number of bankruptcies of once-thriving chain stores.
Housewares giant Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and will now have to close all of its stores this year.
While the Bed Bath & Beyond intellectual property was acquired by Overstock for $21.5 million, all physical stores will be closed as the company becomes a fully online business.
Party City and Tuesday Morning also filed for bankruptcy and plan to close stores across the country.
A rival to the Buffalo Wild Wings also filed for bankruptcy after closing a number of restaurants across the United States.
And a Christmas-themed discounter also announced several store closures last month.