Detroit’s long-awaited sushi bar startup Social Sushi has abandoned its proposed restaurant location in the University District. Co-founder Jay Rayford confirmed to Eater today that the project has been postponed indefinitely while Social Sushi’s partners search for a new suitable location. The news was previously reported by Detour Detroit, which cited a post on Rayford’s private Facebook account.
With $150,000 in interest-free loans won during Quicken Loan’s Demo Day, Social Sushi had seemed primed to open in 2017 in a space at 18663 Livernois Ave. Reached by email, Rayford tells Eater that Social Sushi was making continuous rent payments on the space as well as keeping up with other operating costs, while facing ongoing delays related to plan reviews and zoning issues. The delays caused a financial strain that forced the team to give up the space.
It’s an disappointing setback for the Social Sushi team, which has been hosting pop-ups and working towards opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant since 2014. The group had originally proposed opening a shipping container restaurant on the edge of Roosevelt Park in Corktown with views of Michigan Central Station. However, the plan was eventually scrapped, in part, due to zoning issues.
Still, Rayford is optimistic about finding a new location for the restaurant. “We still hope to locate in that area, so we’re in talks with a couple properties in the area. But we aren’t excluding other Detroit neighborhoods in our search,” he says.
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