Brand new sushi joint is set to open in May in Shockoe Bottom

The former Sensi space. (Photo by David Larter)

The former Sensi space. (Photo by David Larter)

Two veterans of a prominent local restaurant group are starting a new venture on Tobacco Row.

Michael Hinerman and Hai Truong, formerly of Osaka, part of Chris Tsui’s EAT Restaurant empire, are to launch Haiku Sushi and Lounge in the space that once housed Sensi Italian Chop House. Truong will remain a partner in EAT.

“It’s a beautiful space,” said Hinerman, former general manager at Osaka’s River Road location. “And not that we want to benefit from someone else’s misfortune, but since Sensi was here last, the space is pretty much ready to roll.”

The 5,500-square-foot space at 2222 E. Cary St. is on the ground floor of the River Lofts.

Hinerman said that he and Truong, who is the chef, expect to be open by mid-May and that the renovations of the interior would be ongoing after opening.

“Hai has a good eye for design,” he said. “Right off the bat, we will be making minimal cosmetic changes, but we’ll probably do more to redesign after we are open.”

Sensi closed in June after building owner Forest City padlocked the doors of the restaurant, which was owned by Paolo Randazzo. Randazzo also owns Portico on River Road.

Hinerman would not say what Haiku would pay in rent. A Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer market report shows rents for downtown retail spaces run about $13.50 per square foot.

Clint Greene, a broker with Taylor Long Properties, represented Haiku. Brett McNamee with Divaris Real Estate represented Forest City.

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I think RVA lacks good sushi and I live in the building so I am pumped! By lacking, I mean, it isn’t as prolific as fro-yo or Thai restaurants in Carytown. Also ,no offense to Sticky Rice, it is good, but to quote Yogi Berra, “no one goes there anymore because it’s too crowded!”


There are the same number of sushi restaurants as Thai restaurants in Carytown. Richmond’s best sushi restaurants are Ichiban, Akida, Carytown Sushi, and Osaka. Outside of Japan I have never eaten sushi that was very much better than Ichiban, which is consistently “The Best.”