Kaido Sushi and Japanese Grill, in its 15th year on West Main Street in Grass Valley, has been put on the market.
Married couple Kazuhiko and Kaoru Mukai have been running the Kaido together since December 2004, and plan to keep the restaurant open until it is under new ownership.
Kazuhiko Mukai said he decided early this year that he would sell Kaido.
“(It’s) my age,” said Kazuhiko, 62, on his motivation for retiring. “The front line of making sushi is hard for me to run myself, physically and mentally.”
After growing up in a family who ran a restaurant in Japan, he honed his sushi technique while managing the sushi division of Benihana’s restaurants in several California locations. His sushi rolls are one of the major draws at Kaido, alongside Kaoru Mukai’s tempura. The menu also features teriyaki, a variety of deep-fried starters, and poke dishes.
Last year, they experimented with a shift away from sushi and toward a wider variety of Japanese food, but Mukai said “no customers were coming anymore” following this decision. So, Kaido announced in January that their “incredibly popular” sushi rolls were back on the menu.
This brought many customers back, according to Mukai. However, he said, he saw clearly upon introspection at that point that he was tired, leading to the decision to sell the restaurant.
When asked what he is looking forward to after the restaurant is sold, Kazuhiko said he will continue to work on his YouTube channel, which is called Umami Dream.
The channel, which has over 2,300 subscribers, features short videos in which Kazuhiko teaches Japanese cooking. In some, Kazuhiko demonstrates how to construct complex sushi rolls. In others, he explains the basics, from knife sharpening to stocks, soups and sauces.
In the channel trailer, Kazuhiko says, “My goal is to introduce more unique rolls into modern sushi, to pass on the recipes my father taught me, and to inspire my viewers to create their own rolls, too.”
He said he and his wife, Kaoru, may move to Japan once the sale of the restaurant is settled. If they do, he is considering as a future project opening an establishment geared toward offering food to youth at an affordable price.
“If I can do it, that’s part of my dream in the future,” he said.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at [email protected].