Year Founded: 1997 (Acquired by Benihana 2002)
Revenue: $38.17M (2007)
RA Sushi History
In 1997, at the age of 28, Rich Howland and Scott Kilpatrick, along with two of their college friends, founded the RA Sushi Bar Restaurant. Now a national restaurant chain boasting 27 restaurants coast to coast.
Fresh out of college, Rich and Scott began their professional careers separately, but soon after they developed an idea to start a business together in their hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona. After buying in another college friend, Todd Belfer, they started with the purchase of an Old Town Scottsdale restaurant called Trappers. They decided to open an upscale Mediterranean restaurant in its place, featuring sophisticated entrees and a bold, upscale design. Unfortunately, the restaurant fell flat in less than eight months.
Starting fresh, longtime sushi fans, Rich and Scott realized something lacked in the local sushi restaurant scene. While the traditional sushi restaurants drew crowds, they missed a key vitality or ambiance to combine with quality sushi. They recognized a large demand for sushi restaurants, and believed they could improve upon the concept by adding quality Japanese fusion cuisine and an overall appeal to a younger crowd.
Their sushi concept was born! But they still had plenty to learn about sushi operations. In June of 1997, they sought out a sushi expert and trusted businessman in a college acquaintance, Tai Obata. Tai accepted a proposal to become a partner. Several colleagues came in as part owners in order to raise the funds to rebuild the failed Mediterranean restaurant. By adding these investors, they expanded the creativity and energy of the restaurant along with their circle of friends and customers. They credit much of their start-up success to this business decision.
In less than six months, they opened the first RA Sushi in Old Town Scottsdale in October 1997. The concept took off and the location soon became the hotspot. By mid-1999, RA Sushi had opened its second location in Tempe. The concept thrived and Rich and Scott remained at the helm. With a new bank loan and an extremely tight budget, RA opened two more locations in the Phoenix area in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, they learned that Benihana Inc., the nation’s largest chain of Japanese theme and sushi restaurants, was interested in purchasing the company. From there RA Sushi grew under the management of Benihana and has continued to expand over the years.
RA Sushi Menu
Let’s take a look at what RA Sushi has to offer. You’ll definitely be ready for an enhanced appetite, especially with the savory images and descriptions available with all their specialties.
Of course, there are the dozens of specialty sushi rolls that make up the top of the RA Sushi menu. There is no need to develop a taste only for raw fish or seafood, as there are plenty of cooked and vegetable items as well.
With many unique dinner entrees available including seafood, Japanese specials and more, you will never lack delicious choices when sitting down to dinner at RA Sushi. There are even dinner assortments including the Dinner Sushi & Nigiri Assortment and the Dinner Sashimi Assortment. With a fulfilling and delicious variety, you’re guaranteed no one ever goes hungry.
RA Sushi Secret Menu
The chefs at RA Sushi keep a regular stash of specialty items behind the counter ready for preparation. The secret menu provides some of the most unique and unexpectedly delicious items around, including Hamachi kama and others.
Another RA Sushi favorite exists in the seasonal favorites offered regularly. Considering the smoky food and drink specials available right now, there is plenty to be enjoyed throughout the year. With the SMOKEY HAMACHI there is sashimi grade yellowtail over rice with a smoked mushroom soy emulsion; topped with radish, microgreens, crispy shiitake mushrooms and togarashi. Along with the other seasonal menu items there are smoky drinks including the SMOKEY PALOMA made up of Casamigos Tequila, Combier Pamplemousse, Montelobos Mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice and a slice of refreshing grapefruit for a uniquely delicious and quenching taste.
RA Sushi Nutrition and Calories
Unlike sandwiches and traditional dinners with sides, sushi can be healthier. Many of the menu items have fewer calories and fats, and are definitely lower in carbs that cause obesity and hypertension. When reviewing RA Sushi nutrition, we can see numerous ways to keep your meal healthy, from beginning to end.
While there are still certain fried or fattening menu items on the RA Sushi menu, along with sweet desserts and drinks, much can be said of the high level of protein in sushi and seafood… especially when it is so often cooked in a light and refreshing manner.
RA Sushi Menu Prices
While there are plenty of happy hour specials, both drinks and food, ranging from $3.49 to $8.99, there are plenty of sushi and other specialty dishes that remain within an affordable price range.
The Viva Las Vegas Roll is one of the top RA Sushi specialties for $13.25, consisting of Kani kama crab & cream cheese rolled in rice & seaweed. It is lightly tempura battered & topped with spicy tuna, kani kama crab mix & sliced lotus root, then finished with sweet eel sauce and spinach tempura bits.
There is also the popular Tootsy Maki for $8.25. Comprised of Kani kama crab mix, shrimp & cucumber rolled & topped with crunchy tempura bits; it is drizzled with a sweet eel sauce for a final touch.
For those who love tuna, there are plenty of menu options, including several popular specialties. First is Tuna Tataki for $11.75, made of thinly sliced, seared ahi tuna and served with an onion soy vinaigrette. Then there is Tunacado, also for $11.75. Tunacado is seared ahi tuna dusted with Japanese rice cracker bits and black sesame seeds, then served with fresh avocado and creamy ponzu dipping sauce. Finally, the Crispy Spicy Tuna is offered for $10.00, comprised of spicy tuna mix served on top of crispy sesame rice balls, then drizzled with a soy chili sauce.
With all of these options there is always an affordable sushi or seafood option available for the tastes of everyone at the table.
RA Sushi Locations
Having grown to over 25 locations nationwide RA Sushi Restaurant and Bar is a hot spot for all those looking for full and delicious food and drink menus alike. Having opened original locations in Arizona, they spread throughout the Valley with the appealing atmosphere and menu for a young and energetic crowd.
RA Sushi Store Hours
If you want to experience stylish and sophisticated environment, with sushi and Japanese fusion cuisine at its finest, RA Sushi is the spot for you. Most locations are open 11:00 AM to Midnight (check your local location to verify). They also serve Happy Hour meals between 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and Late Happy Hour from 10:00 PM to close Monday through Saturday.