Wasabi Juan's Brings Sushi Burritos to South Beach

Wasabi Juan's, a popular Birmingham, Alabama, eatery specializing in sushi burritos and Mexican street food, is coming to South Florida. The fast-casual spot will open this month in the former Cheese Course space inside Southgate Towers in South Beach, and a Cooper City location will debut shortly after.

Operated by franchise owner Jay Weiner, Wasabi Juan's adds a fusion touch to its sushi, which is rolled in a soybean wrap and filled with Mexican/Japanese inspired ingredients.

"We finally got the green light to take over the space, so we're hoping to open in a few weeks," Weiner says. "We will be bringing pretty much the same stuff as we offer in the original locations, plus a few more additions catered to the Miami clientele."

The food hybrid is pretty much what it sounds like: a burrito-sized roll of raw fish, sauce, and veggies wrapped in rice and seaweed that you eat with your hands. The trend emerged in Los Angeles in 2016 and made its way to South Florida via a few specialized spots and the handful of poke specialists that also serve it.

"Contrary to other sushi burritos offered around town, we roll our sushi in soybean wraps instead of nori wraps, which give it the look of a burrito while keeping it light," he adds. In order to make the menu more attractive to health-minded locals, Weiner's team is adding salads and healthy options to the eatery's offerings. "We are also going to experiment with some Miami takes on sushi, with Latin flavors and ingredients like plantains," he says.

The concept will offer a lineup of signature raw and cooked sushi burritos ($11 to $14), including the L.H.M. (Lord Have Mercy), made with spicy tuna, shrimp, cream cheese, spicy mayo, unagi sauce, and avocado; and the Cowboy, made with grilled steak, avocado, cream cheese, and sesame. A selection of tacos, nachos, and poke bowls will round out the menu.

The family-friendly spot will have indoor and outdoor seating, plus a selection of wine and sake cocktails and beer for adults, and a kids' corner with toys for the little ones.

Wasabi Juan's. 900 West Ave., Miami Beach; wasabijuan.com

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