October 4, 2006
Skis, Snowboards and Sushi

Sacramento snow-sport enthusiasts with a hunger for Mikuni's brand of adventurous sushi won't have to drive all the way home to get it after a day on the northern slopes at Lake Tahoe.

Possibly as soon as this winter, a branch of Mikuni is to open in the expanding village of Northstar-at-Tahoe. "Mikuni at Northstar" is to be a joint venture between the group's founding Arai family of Sacramento and Ray Villaman, owner of Fireside Pizza Co. at Squaw Valley.

Villaman, who also is developing an "upscale Italian bistro" at Northstar, will be Mikuni's on-site operations manager, while the Arais will come up with the sorts of sushi they figure will fly at a High Sierra resort. "He is to watch over the business, while we will provide the expertise for the sushi," said Derrick Fong, CEO of the Mikuni group.

Villaman said he hopes to open his Italian restaurant at Northstar in January, with the Mikuni to debut before the end of the skiing season.

Fong also reports that Mikuni is looking "very seriously" at Las Vegas and Reno for possible expansion, and that design plans for an El Dorado Hills store are being reviewed by El Dorado County officials. That restaurant likely won't open until early 2008, said Fong.

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