John Sugimura is the executive chef at PinKU Japanese in Northeast Minneapolis. Starting this Summer, we’re excited to partner with PinKU to offer fresh sushi and Japanese street food at the co-op every day. We sat down with John to learn the story behind PinKU.
What was your inspiration for starting PinKU?
I am a second-generation, Japanese-American (Hapa), and professionally trained sushi chef. My life-long love of Japanese cuisine and sushi blossomed during the time spent in Kyoto, Japan. I became a skilled chef to celebrate and guard the values of traditional Japanese cuisine. I am inspired by stories of my grandmother’s restaurant in the 1930’s and wanted to build a restaurant that honored my family’s tradition.
In 2014, I teamed up with my business partner, Xiaoteng (X) Huang, and developed the vision for PinKU: an original chef-inspired fine-casual restaurant for Japanese street food using the finest fish and ethnic ingredients for a cultural, entertaining and educational experience. We aim to create the ultimate expression of flavors, colors, and cooking methods, coming together in an authentic experience that is one-of-a-kind.
PinKU is known for it’s incredibly fresh foods, artfully prepared in an open kitchen. How do you plan to bring those fresh flavors and Japanese traditions to the co-op?
We worked closely with the co-op’s culinary team to build a carefully curated menu for co-op shoppers. Each menu item will be perfectly prepared with the finest fish and ethnic ingredients in the traditional Japanese way, just like it is in our restaurant. We only know how to prepare food in one way…the correct way… every time.
Why did you choose to partner with the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op to offer PinKU in our stores?
Partnering with the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op was an obvious choice. We both serve like-minded communities who care about each other. Together, we can further our social contracts and contribute to the world.
Available at the co-op starting July 8
Spicy Ahi Tuna Futomaki
Sushi roll wrapped in seaweed and seasoned rice, filled with spicy tuna, leaf lettuce, avocado, pickled burdock root, and avocado
Seared Salmon Futomaki
Sushi roll wrapped in seaweed and seasoned rice, filled with salmon, leaf lettuce, avocado, pickled burdock root, and avocado
Fish Cake Uramaki
Seaweed and seasoned rice on the outside roll filled with fish cake, pickled burdock root, and avocado
Spicy Ahi Tuna Onigiri
Seasoned rice triangle filled with spicy tuna and topped with chili pepper and sesame seeds
Seasoned rice triangle filled with salmon and topped with chopped seaweed and sesame seeds
Seasoned rice triangle filled with crab meat and topped with powdered seaweed, sesame seeds, and pickled ginger
Fried tofu pocket filled with seasoned rice, natto (fermented soybeans), and green onions
Spicy Crispy Shrimp Inari
Fried tofu pocket filled with seasoned rice, crispy shrimp, spicy mayonnaise and green onions
RECENT PRESS & PRAISE
+ Check out PinKU’s spotlight in Bon Appetit’s “Where to Eat in the Twin Cities, And Taste the World” feature in the summer issue.
+ Look for PinKU’s second location in the MSP airport this summer.
+ Voted one of the best sushi locations by various local publications and media like WCCO/CBS and CityPages.