Columbia natives bring latest sushi trend downtown

The sushi burrito is the newest addition to the Columbia food scene

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The coastlines of the United States are known for their experimentation with food. From heart attack-inducing milkshakes and ice cream cones filled with cookie dough in New York City to poke bowls in California, the coasts like taking classic foods and serving them with new twists. One of the latest food trends combines two very lovable foods: a sushi roll and a burrito.

Usually, the Midwest is slower to adapt to food trends, but the owners of I Am Sushi Burrito, Terry Lee and Kory Yoo, wanted to bring the latest phenomenon, sushi burritos, to Columbia. Different from other sushi burrito restaurants, I Am Sushi Burrito is designed more like Chipotle, where you choose which ingredients go inside the burrito, rather than having a limited selection of combinations to chose from. This way, customers can recreate their favorite sushi rolls in burrito form.

Though sushi burritos are the main focus of the restaurant, they are not all that I Am Sushi Burrito has to offer. The menu also includes poke bowls, which are a deconstructed burritos with sushi ingredients instead, tacos and salads. The tacos are created similarly to a sushi burrito, filling a hard taco shell with sushi ingredients at the bar. If raw fish isn’t your thing, the restaurant has menu selections for both vegetarians, with a tofu option, and meat lovers with pork, bulgogi and fried chicken options.

Yoo is also the owner of Geisha Sushi Bar located downtown on East Broadway Street, where Lee worked in 2009.

“We created the recipes ourselves,” Lee said. “Some of the combinations are from the recipe books from Geisha. There are several different combinations and sauces that we personally make.”

I Am Sushi Burrito was created with MU students in mind, with quick service, late hours and a nearby location. It is located right outside of campus and stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and until 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; it is open until 9 p.m. on Sunday.

“This doesn’t have to take a lot of time — no tip, no waiting for a table — you can finish within five minutes,” Yoo said. “[It’s] good for students, close by school and fast.”

The restaurant was originally supposed to be called Geisha Sushi Burrito, as a spinoff of Yoo’s other restaurant. However, when Lee and Yoo decided on a superhero theme for the restaurant, the name changed with it.

“Everyone loves superheroes, especially me and Kory,” Lee said. “That’s how we got our name — like ‘I am Superman’ or ‘I am Batman.’”

The owners are hoping to open another location next year near Nifong Park and Grindstone Parkway. This new location will provide easier access for customers who don’t live within walking distance of downtown, as parking spots are hard to come by near the current restaurant.

Edited by Brooke Collier | bcollier@themaneater.com

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