Okinawa Hibachi & Sushi doubles space
by Shaka S. Lias
May 02, 2011 | 2542 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Okinawa restaurant expansion includes a tatami room.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
The Okinawa restaurant expansion includes a tatami room. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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On the heels of celebrating their two year anniversary, last month Okinawa Hibachi & Sushi in Cartersville also celebrated the expansion of their restaurant.

Sherri Zentz, manager, said it's a very exciting time for them to be able to double their space, all without raising prices.

"We are not raising prices," Zentz said. "We are fortunate enough that we were so busy that we needed the expansion."

Expanding the restaurant doubled its space and added ample seating including two tatami tables.

Tatami is a Japanese dining room.

Zentz said the customers will surely enjoy the experience of the tatami setting. Two tables are separated by a shade and seat up to 30 people. The room is not an additional charge, reservations are preferred but it's on a first- come basis.

Zentz said it was booked before the room was complete.

Zentz said she's amazed at how much they have accomplished in just two years.

"To be able to expand within the second year when most restaurants are closing, it's very exciting for us," Zentz said. "The community support is phenomenal."

Zentz said she has been in the restaurant business for many years and one of her favorite things to do is visit tables and talk to guests.

"I try to be everywhere and get feedback because it's important to hear what the guests want," she said.

In addition to the expansion, 10 extra people were hired. Okinawa now has nearly 30 employees.

"I put 10 more people to work, which is a good thing," she said. "To hire more people from the community is great."

Zentz said it's very important that they have community support.

"That's important to me and we try to give back to the community because we feel like you have to give to receive," she said.

With many Hibachi restaurants throughout the city, Okinawa strives to be different.

They don't have actual hibachi tables where guests sit. By doing that, the restaurant is able to save money by not paying hibachi chefs, which keep menu prices down.

Prices range from $5.95 at lunch and dinner goes up to $19. Guests also will notice a new sushi menu. The menu is more informative and features numerous options between raw and cooked sushi. Zentz said she wanted to clear up the misconceptions about all sushi being raw.

The expansion also allows less of a wait time for guests. Prior to the expansion, weekend waits were at least 45 minutes to an hour. The time has been cut down to no more than 20 minutes. It's the same with lunch time.

Zentz said lunch time waits are something they try to avoid.

"People at lunch time need to come and eat and go back to work," she said.

So what's next for Okinawa? Zentz said a patio would be nice or taking the concept and open another location.

"Who knows?" she said. "There is another wall that can be knocked down."

The restaurant is located at 1010 N. Tennessee St., Suite 118, Cartersville. They are open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., and closed on Sundays.

To view Okinawa's menu and pricing, visit www.okinawacartersville.com