After graduating from high school, Reza Karkouti dreamed of opening his own teriyaki restaurant. He garnered support from family and friends, and he and his father, Ahad, opened a tiny eatery called Tokyo's Teriyaki in Encinitas in 1992. Through hard work and an attention to detail, the restaurant's reputation grew, and the demand for juicy, teriyaki-glazed chicken and beef quickly spread to other cities. This led Reza’s younger brother, Amir, to help open a second location. Now a seven-location, family-owned chain, Surf Brothers Teriyaki still sees its two siblings focusing on customer service and quality products.
The duo chooses natural meats that are minimally processed, hand trimmed, and grilled, avoiding shortcuts such as microwaves, frozen foods, and laser-based slicing. Their Hawaiian-themed restaurants and catering business have been featured in numerous television spots, radio shows, and newspaper articles. Michelle Murphy Zive of SanDiegoFamily.com says the restaurant offers "a taste of Hawaii" and "healthy food served fast." The brothers give back to the community that helped them grow by donating to charitable organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Homes project.
Performers feed off the energy of their audience, and when there is no audience, there is no energy. To stop this problem before it starts, venues turn to FillASeatSanDiego, a business that supplies its members with tickets to events that still have seats to fill. Members enjoy a year of entry to popular shows, sporting events, and concerts, bulking up the audience more suitably than a litter of Chihuahuas dressed in tuxedoes. Upon joining FillASeatSanDiego, members receive access to a list of upcoming events.
Exotic fish waggle their fins at passersby from their aquarium at Fugu's Sushi & Wok, daring visitors to experience the ocean with all five senses. Yellow lights bathe dark wood tables in warmth as guests dive into fresh sushi, sashimi, and other cool treats. From behind the sushi bar, a skilled chef rolls and chops 60 types of maki and nigiri, including yellowtail hand rolls and two-piece bites of squid and octopus. Specialty rolls arrive accented by ingredients such as avocado, chili sauce, and white or brown rice and radiate more color than a rainbow trapped in a gumball machine. Warm Chinese entrees such as walnut shrimp and cashew chicken brim with earthy flavors, which pair nicely with the restaurant's selection of sakes and crisp white wines.