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Oishi Sushi doubles in size

Miss Kim's expansion makes room for more Pacers
by: VERN UYETAKE Fred Cruise prepares sushi for the sushi track, which carries the morsels before diners, allowing them to choose what they eat.

If you enjoy sushi and teriyaki, there is now more to love. Oishi Sushi and Teriyaki in Lake Oswego recently nearly doubled its size and expanded its menu.

After being closed for four months, Oishi (which means 'delicious' in Japanese) opened its new doors last month.

Originally opened in 2003, the renovated restaurant now features a larger seating area and a sushi conveyor belt. Nearly twice its original size, the place is 2,650-square feet and has seating for more than 70 people, with 34 of those seats situated along the sushi bar.

The change in Oishi's is so significant it has fooled some people into thinking they are at a different restaurant.

'I have to run after them now,' said owner Jane Kim with a laugh. 'They think it is the wrong place.'

Once they see Kim, though, they know it's the right spot.

'I have so many loyal customers,' she said. 'They are just great people.'

With the addition of the sushi conveyor belt, patrons seated along the sushi bar can see the selections of sushi pass before their eyes and can also watch the master chefs prepare the rolls.

On one wall is a large flat-screen TV that rotates pictures from the menu and photos of Kim's favorite customers - students.

If you are a Lakeridge High School Pacer you are probably already familiar with the restaurant and its iconic owner, Kim. The place is a popular gathering site for high school students, not only because of the food and prices, but also because of Kim's warm and friendly personality.

Kim said the high school students remind her of her own children.

'Whenever they come along, I think of my kids,' she said. 'The four months I was at home (during the renovation), I hated it. I missed the kids so much.'

One of many dedicated customers, incoming Pacer senior Chris Oelrich said he has been to the restaurant every day for the last three weeks.

'It's delicious. I love the food,' he said. 'I've been trying a lot more sushi now that I can see it.'

Oishi's new menu features photos of all the options, so customers can see the entrees. Another new feature is an expanded wine selection.

Kim has also hired more employees to handle the larger customer capacity. She now employs 12 workers, and has two head sushi chefs, one being her husband, Young Kim.

Although Oishi's may look different, Kim's attitude toward customers is the same.

'I want to be that special place that people want to come to,' said Kim. 'It doesn't come down to the money, it's making a connection with customers.'

Bob and Katy Barman agreed. 'Our kids come here at least once or twice a week with their posse,' said Katy Barman.

'It's just a wonderful asset to Lake Oswego,' said Bob Barman. 'It's more inviting.'

As a show of her love for her Pacer students, Kim hosted a customer appreciation deal for Pacer students Aug. 30 and 31. She said she plans on hosting more events of this kind in the future, including all-you-can specials.

For those looking for a great deal, all sushi is just $1 a plate daily from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to close.

Kim also expanded the store hours and is open seven days a week.

Oishi Sushi and Teriyaki is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

It's located at 16937 65th Ave. in Lake Oswego. For more information, call 503-639-7625.