Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Vicky Dorvee
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Familiar Faces - Tsukasa Hibino

 

December 6, 2018

Vicky Dorvee

Tsukasa Hibino, owner of Sachi Sushi, is a familiar face in Niwot.

Few things in life start out as an exotic indulgence, but end up being a craving that you’re able to satisfy daily. That’s what happened when a kind of secret Japanese restaurant opened in the far corner of the Niwot Market. Who would think this tiny western town would become a haven for raw fish lovin’ folks?

It’s all owing to Tsukasa Hibino, owner of Sachi Sushi, who provides us with a free steaming mug of green tea, deeply warming miso soup, and melt-in-your-mouth sushi. Oh, and ramen Sundays.

Hibino’s beaming smile and his calm demeanor, along with the soul satisfying food he takes great care preparing have all made Niwot extra-special. How have we been so fortunate to have Hibino here in Niwot, what is his story? We wanted to know.

Left Hand Valley Courier (LHVC) – Where are you from and what brought you to this area?

Tsukasa Hibino (TH) – Osaka, Japan. After graduating from college and before becoming an adult, some Japanese students travel to sightsee. Mostly I went to the United States. After I’d been Los Angeles for a few years working as a sushi chef and learning English, I decided to travel to Brazil. I stayed there half a year and returned to the U.S. in November, which is not a good time to start to work in Japan. I wanted to buy souvenirs for my Japanese friends so I decided to work more and save money.

I had been traveling for more than four years by then and was 28 years old. I wanted to work somewhere besides Los Angeles, so I found a help wanted ad in a Los Angeles newspaper for Pelican Pete’s in Boulder. I came to Colorado and worked there for almost three years until they shut down.

LHVC – Did you ever take souvenirs back to Japan?

TH - Boulder was too nice, so I decided to stay longer.

LHVC – What did you do after Pelican Pete’s closed?

TH – Three of us, all coworkers at Pelican Pete’s, opened Sushi Tora in 1987. But we all wanted to make more money, so one guy stayed, another guy opened Round Midnight jazz bar, and I wanted to start a wholesale fish business. I wanted to bring more of a variety of fish to Colorado, so I traveled to New York looking for a distributor to send fish to Colorado. My business partner, who continued to work at Sushi Tora, asked me to come back so I did both businesses for two years. But the fish business was not good because I couldn’t sell enough, so I gave that up.

LHVC – How did you decide to open Sachi Sushi in Niwot and what year was that?

TH – I opened in 2005 or 2006. A Japanese lady worked at the deli here selling sushi. She decided to quit. When I heard that, I talked with Bert and we decided to open the sushi bar.

LHVC – What is something most people don’t know about you?

TH – Before I started working here, I had more time and more money. I rode a bike more then and I jogged a lot. I spend more time here since I opened Sachi Sushi so the only way to keep doing it is to ride my bike at least one way from Boulder. I also like fly fishing.

LHVC – What challenges have you had to overcome?

TH – In Japan, they have places for people to gather and to talk. But here, there are not many places to gather. When I opened, I wanted to help create a place where the community gathers. I think people enjoy coming here.

The biggest thing though was to introduce delicious food. No matter if it’s gluten free or low sodium. In Japan we prefer to eat delicious food more than just [being focused] on healthy food. Here many people might prefer to eat only vegetables, but I disagree because all food is good for our body. That’s my philosophy. We eat a variety of colorful foods and the combination is what makes it tasty and that makes for healthy food and it’s good for our bodies. That’s what I want to tell American people and have them understand.

LHVC – What do you cook at home?

TH – I like cooking more Chinese style at home.

LHVC – What are you proud of accomplishing?

TH – Many customers come back and that makes me proud.

 

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