FRESH FUSIONWasabi Juan's brings its sushi burrito to Hoover.
By Lauren Dowdle
Photos by Dawn Harrison
Some pairs just seem to go together. Peanut butter and jelly, football and a hot dog, fall and pumpkin-spiced anything. But what about a Mexican-sushi mashup? Wasabi Juan’s has proven those two things are the perfect match at its Avondale location, and now they’ve brought their unique dishes to Hoover.
How the restaurant got its start is just as special as its menu, says Jessica Hardisson, Wasabi Juan’s kitchen manager and daughter of owners Luis and Barby Toro.
She says getting into the restaurant business was “100 percent God’s blessing,” considering they had no past experience before opening Wasabi Juan’s. “My family use to have an automotive locksmith franchise. When that part of our life was closed, God just gave us this new adventure, and we decided to run with it.”
The story behind how they came to serve a variety of sushi burritos and tacos starts with her father, who loves sushi. “It is his favorite food,” Hardisson says of her father. “He could eat it every day.”
While he loved the taste of sushi, actually eating the dish with chopsticks wasn’t really his thing — and he felt eating them with a fork looked silly, Hardisson adds. “He always picked it up with his fingers, but he didn’t like that they would get full of soy sauce,” she explains. “So, he needed an easier way to eat sushi. Sushi burritos is that: an easier way to eat sushi.”
They ran with this idea, opening Wasabi Juan’s in Avondale. The restaurant used sushi ingredients rolled up as burritos — using soy wraps and nori — and also as tacos. Continue the food fusion theme, they also have frushi desserts, edamame, kimchi and other tasty dishes.
“The best way to describe the sushi burritos is they are sushi rolls that are burrito sized,” she says. “So, they are big sushi rolls and are served with chips and our homemade salsa. We also o