Sushi Maki Opens New Location in Dadeland


Nicole Markus

Sushi Maki founder and Palmetto Alumni Abe Ng.

After 20 years in business, Sushi Maki has opened their sixth restaurant in Dadeland, replacing what used to be Canton.

Miami Palmetto Senior High alumni Abe Ng originally founded Sushi Maki after his parents, Alan and Betty, started Canton in 1980. Sushi Maki served as a way for the family to reinvent their business locally in a community that has been a part of Ng’s family for over 40 years.

“In 2000, there were not a lot of sushi bars in the South Miami area, and the sushi bars that did exist were expensive and elitist. We had a vision to create a great neighborhood restaurant to demystify sushi and make it accessible for everyone,” Ng said.

Since the opening of the first Sushi Maki in 2000, the restaurant has turned into a well-known chain with over 250 team members. The chain has restaurants in multiple locations, such as Florida State University, Hard Rock Stadium, University of Miami and Miami International Airport, in addition to a partnership with Whole Foods.

Although opening a new restaurant during COVID-19 is challenging, Sushi Maki has implemented various safety precautions so their guests feel comfortable. The restaurant operates at  50% capacity to maintain social distancing protocol, requires guests to wear a mask at all times except when eating and includes extra hand washing stations outside of restrooms. 

“We wanted to create a COVID-world restaurant when we designed it, so we wanted to take advantage of [the] light, bright space and certainly fewer tables and chairs than you normally would have in a restaurant,” Ng said.

Sushi Maki in Dadeland features classic items from their traditional menu, such as poke bowls, sushi rolls, bubble tea and a selection of vegan, gluten and dairy-free options. However, the restaurant also incorporates items from Canton, keeping the traditions of the old restaurant alive in a reinvented way.  

“My favorite roll is the dragon roll, but what makes this Sushi Maki unique is that we kept some of the Canton favorites,” Ng said. “One of the most indulgent things we have grown up on and now on the menu is the Canton steak, the signature dish of my parents in the 1980s and 90s, so it is cool that it has been rethought and modernized in today’s environment.” 

Sushi Maki held a small-scale opening Sept. 25, inviting friends and family to dine at the restaurant. The restaurant officially opened to the public Oct. 1. Sushi Maki usually hosts grand opening parties to mark the opening of a new restaurant and, instead of a ribbon cutting, they feature a roll cutting ceremony to celebrate. However, the COVID pandemic prevented these plans and Ng postponed the roll cutting ceremony to sometime in spring 2021. Nevertheless, the restaurant remains open every day of the week for customers.

Although Ng recently opened Sushi Maki in Dadeland, he is always looking forward to expanding and improving upon the business. 

“Our future plans are to make this Sushi Maki exceptional to be the neighborhood place,” Ng said. “I think that each time we open a restaurant we make sure that we make all of our existing restaurants even better. Innovation generally starts with the new restaurants, but then it spreads.”

Despite the circumstances, Ng was able to reinvent Canton as a vibrant and safe restaurant with the support of the community. He hopes the new Dadeland restaurant location will, as Sushi Maki’s motto goes, “spread goodness” to the community around it.

“It’s certainly a challenging time, but we are really excited,” Ng said. “We have an amazing team, an amazing community like you supporting us, and we just hope that we can do our part to move our community forward.”