I recently had the opportunity to meet with Andrew Martin, young entrepreneur and owner of How Do You Roll at the 2nd Street location who is also opening the highly anticipated new location in the Triangle. HDYR is currently the fastest growing sushi restaurant in the U.S. With the closings of Kyoto and Kenobi in Austin this year how is that HDYR flourishing? The Triangle had two Japanese restaurants that could not stay in business yet HDYR is ambitiously ready to move in. There are several other locations slotted to open in Texas to include Bryan College Station, San Antonio and Houston. How does HDYR do it? Obviously this blossoming Austin based franchise is doing something right. Andrew accounts this to price point, cost and that people are realizing they cannot stay fit eating unhealthy fast foods.
Typically you walk into a sushi restaurant and customers do one of two things, order off the menu or go for the omakase (chef\’s choice). HDYR takes a different approach offering a limited number of rolls on the menu and gives the customer the option of creating their custom made to order roll. I inquired if customers feel empowered or intimidated by all the options at HDYR. Andrew considers the employees experts and suggests if someone is intimidated or not sure what to order just ask an employee. HDYR trusts their employees taste buds enough to let them create and name their own rolls.
Andrew was kind enough to walk me through the sushi making process and let me make my own roll. If you have not been to HDYR this is the drill: 1. choose a wrap (modern or seaweed) 2. select some vegetables (and/or fruit) 3. pick a meat (not limited to fish) 4. add some toppings.
HDYR tries to meet the dietary needs of their customers by offering gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options. In March HDYR added brown rice to the menu and I decided to give it a try. The fish, fruit and vegetables are fresh and the house made sauces are not only creative but amazing good. My personal favorite sauce is the wasabi mayo.
On average it takes the HDYR rollers 1-2 minutes to make a roll, it took me about 5 (I don\’t think they will be hiring me anytime soon). They use a proprietary machine to lay out the rice perfectly, shaving off minutes during the roll making process. The use of a special cutter also speeds the preparation process.
The employees assured me I did well but I think they were being more than kind. They roll quicker and their results are much tighter and prettier in comparison.
Photos courtesy of http://www.Austinpixels.com @austinpixels