Despite facing hardships, Sushi Hana Japanese Kitchen has been serving fresh traditional Japanese cuisine to the Katy area for nearly 13 years.
Sushi chefs and brother-in-laws Tony Ng and Ming He had wanted to open their own restaurant with their wives Heather Yan and Lily Ng, respectively. Since both families lived in Katy, they decided to open the eatery on South Mason Road in October 2003.
“At that time, I think Katy only had one [sushi restaurant], so there was a market for it,” Yan said. “We lived in Katy; we wanted to have a business near home.”
Yan’s husband and restaurant partner Tony Ng later died, but the other three partners kept the business going. Last February, the restaurant caught fire at the sushi bar and was closed until late May. Yan said once the restaurant opened up again, its business picked right up. She attributes this success to the eatery’s high quality fresh food and its repeat customers.
“You know for a restaurant, you need to have the best food and service,” Yan said. “We have a busy business that helps to keep our food fresh. We always have our sushi [ingredients] delivered every day or some foods every other day. That’s what we focus on, and then we have lots of returning customers.”
Yan said one of the most rewarding things about running a local restaurant is seeing the children of customers grow up and keep coming back.
“We have some that came when they were in elementary school, and now they are in college or working with their own families, and they come here,” she said. “That’s very touching.”
Yan said she believes keeping her loyal staff happy also helps the business. She said 95 percent of the staff returned after the restaurant was closed for three months to rebuild after the fire.
“The customers like to come in and see familiar faces,” Yan said. “Some regulars, the employees know, and they walk in and don’t have to order.”
Yan said the restaurant strives to be innovative and is always offering something new for customers to try. The kitchen introduces a new special sushi roll about every three weeks, and the restaurant has an extensive special rolls menu that includes more than 70 different sushi rolls that have been popular with customers in the past.
“Some customers get overwhelmed by [the large selection of menu items]. This is our feature that not many other Japanese restaurants have,” Ng said.
Yan said they are thankful to have a business that is doing so well especially after the fire.
“We want to continue to thrive [amid] the competition,” Ng said.