Jessica Toro Hardisson at Wasabi Juan's, which plans to open a second location in Hoover in April.
Wasabi Juan's, a fusion sushi and Mexican food restaurant, is set to open its second location in Riverchase in about a month.
The original Wasabi Juan's has been open in Avondale for nearly three years, serving sushi ingredients prepared as burritos, tacos, nachos and more, along with chips and salsa and traditional sushi sides like edamame and kimchi. The menu includes both raw and cooked seafood choices.
"First when they hear 'sushi burritos' they're suspicious ... but when you see it, it makes sense," Hardisson said.
Jessica Toro Hardisson, the kitchen manager and daughter of owners Luis and Barby Toro, said they weren't the creators of the fusion idea, but they embraced it because of her father's enjoyment of sushi but not using chopsticks or forks. Since they opened, Hardisson said Wasabi Juan's has received an overwhelmingly positive response.
"We never expected a second location when we opened this one. We didn't know what would happen," Hardisson said.
The Hoover location will be in the River Oaks Village shopping center on Lorna Road, with Gabriel's Sports Cafe and La Sabrosita. Hardisson said they chose the location because of the traffic through the area, particularly with the Galleria and a Whole Foods grocery store on the way nearby.
Hardisson said the new restaurant will be a "copy and paste" of the Avondale location, with the same menu and about the same square footage. She and her parents are building the tables for the new location themselves. Once the second location is open, Hardisson said she will divide her time between both restaurants.
"They're like our babies. We can't let go," Hardisson said.
By opening in Hoover, Hardisson said she's looking forward to reaching more people with their unique fusion concept.
"It's so different that we can't really be compared to any other restaurant," Hardisson said.
The Hoover Wasabi Juan's is expected to open sometime in April. Visit wasabijuan.com for more information.