Nearly two years after a kitchen fire damaged the interior of Sushi NiNi, the restaurant remains a Round Rock staple for sports fans and sushi lovers alike.

What happened

On the morning of June 28, 2021, black smoke rose from the roof of Sushi NiNi in the Round Rock Crossing shopping center.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in time to preserve the structure, but due to extensive smoke damage, owners Ming Chen and Tutu Nguyen said they were uncertain about the future of their business.

"Our area was 100% damaged, everything had to be ripped out and replaced," Nguyen said. "We thought our customers could easily just go somewhere else. They don't have to come back."

After a yearlong renovation process, Sushi NiNi finally reopened in June 2022—a feat the pair said would not have been possible without their loyal customer base.

"We have a lot of regulars who have supported us through everything, on social media and [with] to-go orders. ... We were very fortunate," Chen said.

What's on the menu

Nguyen said the pair like to keep the dishes at a reasonable price without sacrificing quality, even if it means taking home less of a profit.

"We want to have a more casual way to enjoy sushi. ... It's something that people can come in a couple times a week and not break the bank," Chen said.

Some of their signature rolls include the red devil roll, which has shrimp tempura, avocado, crab meat and spicy mayo; and the Hawaiian roll with mango, masago, avocado and tuna wrapped with soy paper and sweet miso sauce.

Other entrees include sashimis, nigiri and bento boxes, as well as ice cream desserts.

The backstory

Chen and Nguyen met at The University of Texas at Austin when Chen's uncle was the owner of Sushi Niichi in West Campus.

After retiring, Chen's uncle mentored the pair and helped them open Sushi NiNi in 2009.

The future

Going forward, Chen said they don't plan on any new locations. Instead, he is focused on growing their customer base and further perfecting the business.