Okemos' Maru Sushi & Grill plans new restaurant near Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids' East Hills

Now that the renovation of a former chapel into a Belgian-style brewpub is complete, Grand Rapids' Locus Development hopes to break ground soon on a new building next door that will bring Okemos'-based Maru Sushi & Grill to the East Hills business district.

"We’ve executed a lease with Maru and will be moving them into a new building late spring, early summer," says Locus Development principal John Green in an email. "We will be constructing a 2,500-square-foot building along Cherry Street in front of Brewery Vivant."

Maru owner Robert Song says he was introduced to East Hills about three years ago after visiting the Grand Rapids Chair Company to get furnishings for his Okemos location. It was suggested that he go to The Green Well, across from what's now Brewery Vivant, for dinner. Since then, he and his family have visited the neighborhood often for dinner and have seen the changes take place with the brewery renovation and the creation of Grove restaurant nearby.

"We thought Cherry Street would be a great place to have a sushi restaurant," says Song. "My cuisine is not all traditional Japanese sushi because that is somewhat foreign to American palettes. Our menu is diverse, not limited, with great salad items, and a wide variety of vegetarian items plus grilled steak and grilled shrimp dishes. The sushi will set us apart from other restaurants, but we do have many items most diners would feel comfortable having, with just a little twist of who we are."

A lunch with sushi could run about $10-$11, with dinner at about $20-$25, Song says.

The restaurant has applied for a full liquor license and Song hopes to offer a range of selected wines and beers. He expects the new business will create some 30 full-time and part-time positions, headed by a few employees from the Okemos store.

"We are a fun restaurant, with new things going on and our presentation will outdo many restaurants by far," Song says.

Song expects the restaurant to open by summer 2012.

Source: Robert Song, Maru Sushi & Grill; John Green, Locus Development
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor