Toshiko Ramen and Sushi Bar Chef David Valenzuela shows off a roll in this Facebook photo
Written by Edward Smith
Toshiko Ramen and Sushi Bar is expected to open between July and August once renovations have been completed to the old Payless Shoe Source building on Fulton Street in Downtown Fresno, according to owner Horace Steward.
The Japanese restaurant that emigrated from Hanford to get in on the ground floor of Fulton Street development will offer ramen soup, sushi as well as beer, wine and sake.
Owners Steward and his wife Hiromi decided to make the move after being approached by property owner Robert Gurfield.
“If we can get in at the beginning of the process where the businesses are growing and the area is growing I can’t think of a better time,” said Steward.
Gurfield envisioned unique restaurants being the draw for the recently reopened street and invested into his own building by installing kitchens and renovations for both Toshiko and its next door neighbor The Chicken Shack, which is expected to open in the next couple weeks, according to Gurfield.
Being able to be a part of the complete renovation gave Steward the chance to weigh in on what he wanted in terms of layout. Since sushi is made-to-order, said Steward, it should be an open kitchen design where customers can see the cooks and chefs making their food.
Steward is carrying over many of the fan favorites from the Hanford location, including Tonkatsu Ramen, noodles in a creamy broth with carrots, corn and choice of meat, including seafood.
There will also be sushi choices available like the Red Dragon roll, made of tempura shrimp and crab meat on the inside and topped with spicy tuna, eel sauce and spicy mayo.
Steward is most excited about the foot traffic in the area. There will be nearby tenants from the State Center Community College District as well as the Pacific Southwest Building lofts. The restaurant will focus more on lunch hours, but will be open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., six days a week, closed on Sundays.
Dinner and evenings are something more down the road for Toshiko, as Steward wants to see what demand will be like before dedicating to nighttime hours.
The restaurant will be a part of what is being called the Renoir Center, anchored by the statue by the famous impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir entitled Le Grande Laveuse.
Painting is currently underway on the walls and reprints of other impressionist art will soon adorn the walls of the corner to fit the pastoral motif.
The restaurant will employ between 10 and 15 people.