Openings and Closings

Sabi Sushi, the restaurant without a restaurant, dries up

Last summer, three freshly minted Duke grads opened Sabi Sushi in Denver, the first restaurant without a restaurant, with money won from a start-up contest at their university.

"First there were traditional restaurants," owner Shaan Puri told us at the time. "Then fast-casual, then food trucks, which are traditional restaurants on wheels. Sabi is the next step. We're attempting to deliver high-quality food and service without the actual walls or confines of a restaurant."

The owners said that Sabi would improve on the typical downtown delivery model by delivering a full restaurant experience to cubicle warriors who didn't have time for an hour lunch. They'd contracted a high-profile sushi chef to write their menu, and they generated considerable buzz when they launched.

But you can't eat buzz. And if you were relying on Sabi for that lunch, you'll have to find sustenance elsewhere, because the venture has dried up.

Not only has the number been disconnected and the Sabi Sushi website removed from the Internet, but Puri and co-founder Trevor Ragan have moved to Brisbane, Australia, to pursue other careers. The third member of the trio, Dan Certner, left Denver for the Bay Area.

As for the restaurant without a restaurant? It quietly closed its metaphorical doors.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk