Editor’s note: A previous version of this story indicated Tsukiji Fish Market was closed. It is open, the market’s current owner said in June.
LOGAN SQUARE — A traditional sushi spot from a chef with more than 20 years of experience has joined Logan Square’s Armitage Avenue.
Florencio Flores, who worked as a sushi chef at Sai Cafe at 2010 N. Sheffield Ave. and helped run Tsukiji Fish Market at 1156 W. Grand Ave., is behind Haru Sushi, which opened last week at 3301 W. Armitage Ave.
At Haru — which means “spring” in Japanese — Flores is using skills he’s learned over the past two decades to serve traditional sushi and sashimi. The restaurant is open for dine-in, carryout and delivery service, as well as catering. Flores hopes to secure a city permit to open a sidewalk cafe in the coming months.
Haru replaced gourmet hot dog spot Doggone’s, which closed in 2019 after just five months.
“I love to make sushi. I like to design, to play with fish and ingredients,” Flores said.
While Flores has long dreamed of striking out on his own, Haru was born out of necessity.
Flores’ work hours were cut at Sai Cafe during the pandemic, and then Tsukiji Fish Market changed owners after seven years, leaving him nowhere to work, he said.
“I have no job, so I decided to open a small business for myself,” Flores said.
Flores has lived in Chicago since 1992, but he is originally from Puebla, Mexico. When he told his friends and colleagues he was planning to open his own sushi restaurant, they all responded the same way: “You’re Mexican. Why are you doing sushi?”
However, Flores said he’s confident he’ll win over patrons with his years of experience — and fresh fish delivered daily.
“When people try my sushi, it’s going to be different,” he said.
To start, Haru is a two-person operation — just Flores and his 17-year-old daughter Mayra, who commute there together from their home in Belmont Cragin. But Flores said he aims to hire staff as the restaurant grows.
So far, business has been better than expected, and Flores said he’s “excited” for what’s to come.
“I decided to open my own [restaurant] because I have a lot of experience. I like this [area] — people are very nice. I want to share what I know with the people,” he said.
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