Medford-based Star Sushi rolled into Ashland last week.
Owner Ricky Nam opened the second location at 293 E Main St. on Aug. 6, a quaint, cool and modestly decorated room with table or sushi bar seating. (Clarification: The restaurant's address has been added to this story.)
Starting at this parents' restaurant in Hawaii, Nam, 57, has been working with sushi for more than 30 years.
When he opened up shop in Medford five years ago, serving Ashland wasn't a goal, but Nam thought competitive pricing would allow for another sushi joint to thrive.
"I will not say that I am better than anyone," Nam said. "I will say, when they (customers) come in, I cook for them like they are my family eating."
Nam moved to Hawaii from South Korea when he was 20, and to Portland about five years later.
He opened the first Star Sushi in Beaverton about 30 years ago, he said. A a friend convinced him to expand to Medford, which has proved a fruitful venture.
"I always knew that I wanted a Japanese sushi restaurant, since working with my parents," Nam said.
Nam sold the Beaverton location about a year ago, as he and his family are in transition with a move to Southern Oregon, but still own a home in Beaverton, he said.
"We are looking for a home and I have thought of Ashland," Nam said.
A California roll for $4.75, Tuna Nigiri for $5, and most vegetable rolls for under $3 make Star Sushi an affordable sushi restaurant in Ashland, and that's a major part of what Nam's counting on to thrive in town.
The restaurant has a list of rolls more than $10 and $12, for those with fanciful taste, Nam said. Of these, the Orlando, Samuri, and Florida rolls are his favorites.
Nam, who operates both restaurants with help from his family, said business hasn't been as steady as he would like to see so far, but expects that to change within the next few months.
"Try, one time, my restaurant, and all the time you will come to my restaurant," Nam said.
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.