FUSIAN Adds Two More Locations in Central Ohio
At a time when many restaurants are struggling, FUSIAN has continued to grow.
The Columbus-based fast-casual sushi chain has opened two new restaurants in Central Ohio – 79 S. State St. in Westerville and 7721 Sawmill Rd. in Dublin. Both are former locations of now-defunct build-your-own pizza concept Pizza Cucinova.
Co-Founder Stephan Harman says, “We’ve always had our sights on Dublin and Westerville and some more locations outside of 270.”
The Pizza Cucinova locations provided what Harman described as a win-win-win of a situation. FUSIAN had an existing relationship with the brand’s parent company, Sbarro, and could take over the leases, expanding their brand and bringing FUSIAN closer to home for more diners – something that’s especially important as more folks work from home. (FUSIAN didn’t go four for four in taking over Pizza Cucinova locations because of existing restaurants in Grandview and at Easton. FUSIAN also has an eatery in Clintonville.)
In addition to FUSIAN’s signature build-your-own sushi rolls, bowls and salads, Harman says the new locations will provide the opportunity to explore some new menu items. While fish options currently include tuna, salmon and smoked salmon, the brand wants to diversify with some new, premium options like yellowtail and hamachi. Some lighter fare could also make an appearance on the menu come spring.
“The beauty about FUSIAN is that it’s really a reflection of our customers,” Harman says of the menu. There’s no one chef driving the concept, but instead they take cues from customers about what they would like to see on the menu.
Harman says it’s also the customers that have allowed the brand to keep expanding despite the pandemic. He says people are voting with their dollars, giving them the confidence to invest in new locations. He adds FUSIAN is poised to responsibly operate through whatever is left of the pandemic.
In the early days of the pandemic last March, FUSIAN had the same mentality many did – close for a few weeks to stop the spread and come back better.
“About that same time, too, we realized that people need to eat and employees need to work,” Harman says.
Store shelves were also picked clean, leading FUSIAN to venture into grocery delivery. Customers could not only get sushi, but pantry staples and fresh produce.
It was a lifeline for the restaurants, and their supply chains which were well-stocked in anticipation of events like St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness.
Although a time of struggle and uncertainty, Harman says the only way to survive was to go full steam through it.
Now in a position to keep forging ahead, “We want to continue to find opportunity in our existing markets,” Harman says of what’s next for FUSIAN.
The restaurant’s approach to growth has never been about hitting a certain number of units, but taking a right time, right place, right community approach. Now up to 12 locations across the state, five in Central Ohio, Harman says they’ve honed the concept over the last 11 years and are in a place where they are poised to scale – not too fast, but responsibly.
FUSIAN recently added to its scaling possibilities through a partnership with Wizard of Za. The cult-following pizza maker took up residence with FUSIAN in Clintonville, and while it will likely be the only location in Columbus, the pizza partnership has expansion potential in other markets.
For more information, visit fusian.com.