Restaurant Profile: SUteiShi’s Recovery from Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit the NYC area in a very big and damaging way last October. And even now, almost 3 months later, the city is still reeling from it’s horrendously strong impact. Some of the hardest hit businesses were the local neighborhood restaurants. This week, we are profiling one of our amazing restaurant partners in lower Manhattan, SUteiShi. Despite not having a functional storefront even now, the Seaport-area restaurant is operating out of a make-shift kitchen and serving delivery only. We sat down with owner Victor Chan to chat about how Hurricane Sandy affected his business, and what they are doing to rebuild.

SUteiShi Before and After Sandy

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Seamless: Tell us about how Hurricane Sandy affected SUteiShi? 
Victor Chan: Hurricane Sandy brought in six feet of flood water into SUteiShi, which completely destroyed everything. I was amazed at the power of the water – it turned over refrigerators and freezers and even lifted and turned over a 500lb ice machine. Everything was wet and soggy, we spent the first two days throwing away all the food.

S: Were you expecting such a hard hit?
VC: Not at all, I guess we were jaded because last year the news talked up Hurricane Irene and nothing happened.

S: How is SUteiShi operating now? And how is Seamless helping your business come back?
VC: SUteiShi is temporarily operating from a bakery’s kitchen (Made Fresh Daily) for evening deliveries only. 75% of our sales come from our Seamless customers. Seamless is helping us generate some revenue to rebuild, keep us relevant in the eyes of our customers and most importantly employ 6 of our team members.

S: When do you expect to be back up and running?
VC: The landlord is still dealing with building infrastructure and is looking to give us the space back in 4-6 weeks. Then, it will take another 2 months or so for us to build out the space.

S: Will the dining-in service be back in order?
VC: Yes! Better than ever!

S: Are you able to prepare all of your regular dishes or have you made any menu changes?
VC: We are currently offering 65% of our menu. The good news is that the kitchen we’re operating out of doesn’t have a fryer, so our limited menu is much healthier!

S: Have different dishes become more popular post-Sandy?
VC: The popular dishes remain just as popular. Our salads are always a great seller with our homemade dressings!

S: Any other comments you’d like to add?
VC: We thank the Seaport, FiDi, and Battery Park neighborhoods for such great support during these trying times!

If you live or work in the lower Manhattan area, be sure to check out the SUteiShi menu! And if you’re in midtown, check out SUteiShi’s sister restaurant Sushi-teria, a premium and quick serve sushi spot!