Kasutamu delivers new sushi vibe to downtown East Lansing

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Man making sushi.

Kasutamu employee Ed Lopez making a roll of sushi.

By Jess Todd
Entirely East Lansing

Firehouse Subs has closed its doors at 245 Ann St. and a different eatery has opened in its place. The new sushi restaurant in downtown East Lansing has an interesting business idea.

Kasutamu opened on Sep. 25, and will offer late-night sushi after the grand opening. The restaurant has been on a soft launch since it opened and does not have its full menu or hours in effect yet. Co-owner Charlie Hoang has not announced a date for the grand opening, but he is excited about his new restaurant and its potential.

“We chose this location because I opened two other restaurants on the outskirts of town before, but wanted to put it downtown in the heart of East Lansing where all the students are,” said Hoang. “Then this location just happened to pop up and we decided to swoop in on it.”

Hoang is no beginner in the restaurant industry. He has had multiple jobs at different restaurants that have brought him to this point with his third restaurant in Kasutamu.

“I grew up working in restaurants in my hometown of Brighton and have been in sushi for a long time,” Hoang said. “I’ve worked in a bunch of restaurants in East Lansing, too, since I moved here five years ago,” said Hoang.

A big part of Kasutamu’s identity is its ingredients. From meat and fish to vegetables, Hoang wants to have the freshest sushi possible.

“We buy as many of our vegetables as we can locally from places like the (East Lansing) Farmer’s Market,” Hoang said. “But, we get all of our fish from suppliers in Chicago and Detroit depending on who has the freshest ingredients at the time,” said Hoang.

According to Michigan State University student Dylan Zohn, who used to work at a sushi restaurant, freshness will be crucial for Kasutamu’s plan to add delivery.

Another part of Kasutamu’s new brand is going to be its late-night and custom sushi. Hoang said that these characteristics will help the restaurant to stand out.

“We are one of the only places that lets you pick whatever protein and vegetables you want,” said Hoang. “And, after our grand opening, we will be open from Thursday to Saturday until 3 a.m. with free tempura and cheap appetizers during late night hours for the bar crowd.”

Michigan State student Olivia Rubick said she can’t wait to see what the late night seen will be like.

“I loved Kasutamu because it had a good vibe and at other sushi places there aren’t rolls with exactly everything you want in them,” Rubick said. “There was music playing and just an overall good atmosphere so it’ll be fun to see what it will be like with the bar crowd at two or three in the morning.”

When Kasutamu first opened, it was only a soft opening without the full menu or schedule. However, Hoang plans to have the grand opening for the restaurant within the next two weeks, but has still not set an official date. He added that the soft opening has just been to work out any initial problems and to get all of the staff on the same page.

Hoang said that even with just the soft opening, business has been steady with a lot of support from friends and student organizations. However, he is looking forward to hitting the ground running with the grand opening.

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