It has been a year and a half since local resident Owen Otter opened his sushi eatery in the former Seaside Restaurant. Although that location was quite successful, Mr. Otter decided that it was time for a change.
“I loved running my own restaurant in Crabapple Crossings, but I found that such a large restaurant space wasn’t the best fit for me. Making sushi is my true passion, but I was expanding my menu more and more and spending a lot more time cooking other things. I decided it was time to return to sushi as my focus.”
Selling the Seaside Restaurant building allowed for Mr. Otter to downsize his operation. The new restaurant “Lucky Otter Sushi” is much smaller, featuring only a few counter seats and carry-out business. “Our new location is right across from Center Park. On nice days, sushi makes for a wonderful picnic.”
We stopped in at noon on a recent weekday and found it to be a local lunchtime hot spot. Although most business was for take-out, we spotted Mayor Carl Cuddle-Bear enjoying his sushi lunch at the counter.
“You cannot find fresher sushi anywhere,” said Mayor Cuddle-Bear, tucking into a plate of tuna rolls and nigiri. “I am here for lunch almost every day. The menu changes on a daily basis, as the offerings are dependent on the fresh catches of the day. It’s just wonderful.”
“It’s true,” Mr. Otter explained. “Whatever tasty fish my wife, Octavia has available that day becomes the sushi for lunch or dinner.”
Unsurprisingly, Octavia Otter was also at the restaurant enjoying a sushi lunch. “I’m so happy that my husband is following his dream. I couldn’t be prouder of all the hard work he puts in every day and I hope that everyone who visits the restaurant can taste the passion that he puts into every piece of sushi he serves.”
Lucky Otter Sushi is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday; 11AM to 10PM Monday through Thursday and 11AM to midnight Friday and Saturday.
The theme for this round of Year of Creative Crafting was “Yum!: All about food! You can make anything relating to kitchens, cooking, restaurants, food, or eating.”
I admit I went a bit over-the-top this and was up late last night trying to finish the sushi restaurant to my satisfaction. I mentioned a while back in my works in progress post that I made quite a few miniature plates of sushi. Well, those mini sushi plates have been sort of floating around my craft room without a more permanent location because I had never been happy with the Seaside Restaurant as a sushi place. It was just too cute as a seaside grill, and the decor really didn’t match what I was wanting to create. So for this challenge I decided to finally make the sushi restaurant I had been envisioning for a year or more.
As with all my building projects, the sushi bar started with pieces of foam core board. I have blogged about my process at least a couple times in the past, so I won’t get into that too much here.
My main materials for the build were the foam core, card stock, and balsa wood.
My big challenge with this build was the shoji screens I wanted to feature as a decorative element. These are made of balsa wood, vellum paper, and a little bit of woodgrain-printed paper. I drew the lines with a thin Sharpie marker. They look like they could open and close, but they are purely decorative, as I could not figure out a sliding track.
I tried to make the floors look like Japanese tatami mats – they are a slightly textured card stock that I rubber stamped with a burlap design. I then colored two edges with a Sharpie marker.
The wall art is some thin card stock with a ginkgo leaf print. I really wanted some foiled washi paper or origami paper to use for the wall decor, but I went to every shop I could think of, and didn’t find what I wanted. I wasn’t sure about the ginkgo print, but I think I am growing more fond of it.
The base of the bar itself is made of foam core covered with woodgrain print paper. The staggered counter is balsa wood.
The waving cat figure I bought several years ago as a souvenir at the Japan pavilion in Disney’s Epcot Center. I think it is the perfect decor for the sushi restaurant.
From the picture above, you can see a bit of the food preparation area of the restaurant. Starting from the back, I made a little hangiri bowl out of wood grain paper and a touch of silver Sharpie to make the bands. I didn’t get a good picture, but it does have polymer clay rice in it. A small piece of scored green paper made a sushi rolling mat. The cutting board and knife are from a Calico Critters set, I don’t recall which one(s). The pieces of nori seaweed are squares of black crepe paper.
In my original sushi case post, I made a quarter-round case with clear plastic sheeting, card stock, and thin foam core. Although I liked the look of the case, I found it a bit too tall and wide for my more petite sushi restaurant. Coming up with a new case turned out to be quite the challenge. I attempted a couple of ideas, but nothing was working quite right, and I was running out of time for the challenge…I didn’t have the time to design and troubleshoot. Well, inspiration unexpectedly struck yesterday afternoon when I spied a plastic insert on my craft table. It was the plastic packaging from the Calico Critters Children’s Bedroom Set that I received as a gift. For some reason I kept the molded plastic insert, thinking I may want some part of it someday for a project, nothing really in my mind. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered a section of it was the perfect height and width for my new sushi cooler! I carefully cut it out with sharp scissors. I guess being a bit of a pack-rat turned out to be a good thing for once!
For the dining side of the bar, I made chopsticks out of cut toothpicks and made little paper sleeves for them out of copy paper. I also designed and printed miniature menus for the restaurant. They carry over the ginkgo leaf design from the wall art on the cover and are actually printed inside with the sushi that are on the plates (This is a bit visible in the menu at the back.)
The restaurant stools are simply 3/4″ wood cubes. To my surprise, critters can actually sit on them without too much coaxing!
I think that pretty much covers my sushi restaurant project top to bottom. I think it is really cute and I can’t believe I finished before my deadline!