The First American Sushi Bar Opened in 1966

How did sushi travel from its homeland to our Japanese restaurant in Seattle? Sushi gained widespread popularity in the United States in the 1960s when Noritoshi Kanai, president of the Mutual Trading Company, introduced an American business associate to Edomae-sushi in Japan. His associate, Harry Wolf, was so impressed that he brought the culinary experience back to Los Angeles where the first sushi bar was born. Kawafuku Restaurant in “Little Tokyo,” L.A. became the first U.S. location to serve Edomae-sushi, drawing Japanese and American citizens alike. Sushi bars became a place of cultural fusion where Japanese businessmen would bring their fellow Americans to experience a piece of traditional Japanese culture. Kawafuku’s sushi chef had made $30,000 dollars over just four years, allowing him to travel back to Ginza, Japan. The rumor of wealth spread quickly, and many struggling sushi chefs were able to make a living by expanding the sushi craze in America.

In the years following, several other sushi bars began opening along the west coast from L.A. to Santa Monica Beach, an area that became commonly referred to as “Sushi Row.” Its location in the heart of the American entertainment industry quickly made it a trendy and high-class cuisine, an image that has not altogether disappeared. Sushi continues to spread Japanese tradition in the U.S. today, and it’s never too late to give it a try. Visit I Love Sushi’s Japanese restaurant in Seattle to experience culture and cuisine at its finest.