Sushi might be a popular fast-casual or carryout option, but it’s hardly conducive with on-the-go grubbing. Between chopsticks, soy sauce, and easily jostled fillings, the dish has always had certain limitations with portability. Enter the sushi burrito.
Two fast-casual concepts—Sushirrito in the San Francisco area and soon-to-open Komotodo Sushi Burrito in Denver—are applying the convenience of the burrito to the sushi roll.
“Everyone just loves burritos,” says Komotodo founder Alonzo Martinez. “I thought a sushi burrito would fit in with the whole Asian-fusion concept.”
For Martinez, inspiration first struck two years ago while he was traveling through Asia. Restaurants would serve oversized sushi rolls filled with meat, vegetables, and fruit. The name is a nod to the concept’s inherent hybrid roots: “Como todo” means, “I eat everything,” in Spanish; Martinez changed the “c” to a “k” to make it sound more Japanese.
As Chipotle’s home base, Denver is fertile ground for innovative burrito renditions, Martinez says. Nevertheless, Komotodo will not follow the model of build-your-own customization—“not so much like a Subway,” Martinez says. Instead, the menu is comprised of 12 sushi burritos, which are made fresh in front of the customer.
With limited seating for roughly 20, Komotodo will lean on the grab-and-go model, but the quality will be at the same quality level as some of the best restaurants in Denver.
“Our food supplier … Shamrock Foods supplies to most fine, major dining restaurants in Denver,” Martinez says. “They have their seafood flown in almost daily from other places so it’s the same quality seafood … as all the fine-dining establishments around the area.”
While several Komotodo burritos feature raw fish like King Salmon and Yellowfin Tuna, others are filled with sirloin steak, chicken, or tofu. Sushirrito has a similar surf-and-turf menu with its proteins including spicy Japanese eggplant and oven-roasted pork belly.
Komotodo is slated to open in June in the heart of downtown Denver, just a stone’s throw from the University of Colorado. Martinez also created a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of expediting the construction process.
Although it’s too soon to know for sure, Martinez is confident the Denver community will embrace Komotodo wholeheartedly, especially given Sushirrito’s success in California.
“There’s about 50 people waiting in line before the doors open,” he says.
Martinez has no plans for additional units until the original Komotodo proves to be a success. That being said, he thinks San Diego and Miami might be ready for sushi, burrito style.
By Nicole Duncan