A Brief History of Sushi Restaurants in the United States

For more than three decades, Shannah Hall Franckum has directed leasing agreements for various commercial real estate development projects. Among other successful developments, Shannah Hall Franckum managed leasing for the well-known Porter Exchange Building, which is famous throughout the Boston area for its Japanese shops and sushi restaurants.

Although some form of sushi has been around in Japan for more than a thousand years, and restaurants specializing in the dish are found today in nearly every large city, sushi restaurants are a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. The first sushi restaurant in the United States opened in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles in 1966. The sushi bar, which served the traditional nigiri sushi, found success by catering to visiting Japanese businessmen and their American colleagues.

In 1970, Hollywood became the first area outside of Little Tokyo to welcome a sushi restaurant, Osho. This establishment quickly became popular among celebrities, raising the profile of sushi in the United States. Soon after, the popularity of this raw fish Japanese delicacy spread to New York, Chicago, and, eventually, Boston.

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