Tiki, Mochi, Slushy: 7 of the Best Food-Driven New Year’s Eve Parties in the Twin Cities

“How do you feel about gyoza and crispy shrimp? Seared salmon and champagne? You’ll get all that and more at PinKU’s New Year’s Eve dinner. Treat yourself to tasty Japanese fare with cocktails, bubbles, and mochi for $40. Send your reservation request to sugi@pinkujapanese.com for one of three seatings (5 p.m., 7 p.m., or 9 p.m.).” – City Pages

Read the full article by Theresa J. Beckhusen at citypages.com (December 11, 2017)

PinKU Wins the Most Likely to Succeed Startup Award in Food & Beverage Retail by the Minnesota Business Magazine

PinKU Japanese Street Food represents the best of Minnesota’s flourishing startup community most likely to succeed according to Minnesota Business Magazine. Chef John Sugimura was recognized for presenting food as an art form rooted in culture, entertainment and education.

Read the full article by Raha Khan at minnesotabusiness.com (November 28, 2017)

The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make America Great

Chef John Sugimura is featured in The Immigrant Cookbook, a beautifully designed and photographed cookbook, which will be published December 1, by Interlink Publishing, a 30-year-old, Massachusetts-based independent publishing house. Interlink will donate half of the profits generated from the sale of this book to the ACLU. The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes that Make America Great to counteract the toxic and anti-immigrant rhetoric, help raise funds to support the work of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) in defending the rights of immigrants, and to celebrate the many ethnic groups that have contributed to America’s vibrant food culture. The book will promote the message of unity and will feature 80 or so recipes from prominent American immigrant chefs that will highlight the diversity of America as a whole.

Read the book published by Interlink Publishing (December 1, 2017)

The Jason Show on Fox 9


“You’ve probably had sushi before, but how about trying other Japanese foods. Thanks to Chef John from PinKU Japanese Street Food for sharing his crispy rice dish and talking about how to land a restaurant inside the airport.” – Jason Matheson (November 1, 2017)

Mpls St Paul “Hidden Gems”

PinKU Japanese Street Food was designated as a “Editor’s Choice” by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s dining critics and editors as being among the best of their type locally (Page 180).

Read the full list in the November 2017 edition of the Mpls/St. Paul Magazine (November 1, 2017)

Northeast Minneapolis Nourishment – The Top Spots in the Heart of Minneapolis’ Dive Bar Country

“I’ve developed a powerful passion for the crusty, chewy potstickers served at this small University Avenue restaurant. They come stuffed with shrimp, pork, or tofu and are always a satisfying cheap eat among the eatery’s many other delicious-but-affordable little bites.” – Minnesota Monthly

Read the full article by Jason Derusha and Joy Summers at minnesotamonthly.com (October 20, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Lands MSP Spot, Wants to Keep Traveling

“PinKU Japanese Street Food, the quick-service Japanese restaurant that opened in Northeast Minneapolis last summer, landed a second location at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Monday when the Metropolitan Airports Commission approved the addition of several new eateries. But that’s just the start for the concept, said John Sugimura, the co-founder and executive chef of PinKU. The concept has deals for three more airports across the country, though Sugimura wouldn’t say where. ‘We always thought we would do better in a larger environment like airports, museums, and maybe stadiums,’ Sugimura said. ‘We felt an airport was a narrow market with broad appeal and a perfect place for us.’ PinKU is going into Terminal 1 at MSP as part of the main mall space. Construction will start a couple of weeks after the Super Bowl and the restaurant plans to open in mid-May.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Dan DeBaun at bizjournals.com (September 27, 2017)

New Food/Drink Options at MSP Airport

“Earlier this summer, we gave a rundown of the best bets for eating at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. One of the things we noticed was a preponderance of options in Terminal 1’s Airport Mall, Concourse E, and Concourse G, and the vast culinary wasteland that comprises Concourses A, B, and C. That’s all about to change. At a Metropolitan Airports Commission meeting on Monday, the commissioners granted highly coveted restaurant space to a host of local and national food outlets. Some duds will be hitting the bricks to make room: Quiznos, Godfather’s Pizza, A&W, Hometown Sports, Itasca, and O’Gara’s Bar and Grill will all be vacating their spots in favor of more popular purveyors. The new restaurants will occupy spaces in the Airport Mall, as well as in Concourses A, B, C, and F. Like we said, culinary wasteland no more. The list includes: PinKU Japanese Street Food.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Hannah Sayle at citypages.com (September 26, 2017)

Vendors Selected to Create 30 New Restaurants at MSP Airport

“A local full-service steak and seafood restaurant, fresh-pressed juice bar, full-service casual Mexican or Latin cuisine establishment, local full-service bakery and café, and fast-casual Asian restaurant and bar: those are among the 30 food concepts to be developed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) by companies awarded the opportunities by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) board.” – Metropolitan Airport Commission

Read the full article at MACnews (September 26, 2017)

MSP Airport Approves Dozens of New Restaurants at Marathon Meeting

“Travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will soon have 30 new menus to choose from, as officials approved a new slate of restaurants… During a five-hour Metropolitan Airports Commission meeting on Monday, commissioners voted on groups of bars, restaurants and coffee shops that would fill 19 units totaling 82,000 square feet in Terminal 1. The locations of the units range from the main mall area to concourses A, B, C and F. The decision is a big one for the airport, which collects more than $30 million in rent from various concession restaurants and shops. But it has to choose carefully to find concepts that excite travelers but can still turn a profit… Minnesota-based companies that were selected Monday included: PinKU Japanese Street Food (PinKU’s first location opened in Northeast last year).” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Nick Williams at bizjournals.com (September 25, 2017)

New Eateries Approved for Terminal 1 at MSP Airport – Airports Commission OKs Bids From Twin Cities Restaurants and Well-known National Chains 

“More than two dozen new eateries are planned for the busiest terminal at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – ranging from local favorites to national chains offering selections from sushi to steak. The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP, approved the new offerings for Terminal 1, also known as Lindbergh, during a meeting that lasted more than five hours Monday as close to 40 people sought to address the board. The complicated bidding process seeks to balance a desire to promote local businesses and also add familiar national chains in a mix that will appeal to the 37 million travelers who frequent the airport annually.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Janet Moore at startribune.com (September 25, 2017)

FallFest Coming to Birch’s on the Lake

“FallFest returns for a second year at Birch’s on the Lake… There will also be an Oyster Shuck and Eat Contest. Eight local chefs will face off head-to-head to see who can shuck and eat the most oysters in one minute. Competitors include Mike Brown of Travail Kitchen & Amusements, John Sugimura of PinKU, Jack Riebel of The Lexington, Dave Buxton of Smack Shack, Mike Rakun of Mercy Bar & Dining Room, Kale Thome of Minnesota Barbecue Company, Jon Boetel of Birch’s on the Lake and Bethany Wells. The entire contest will raise funds to be donated to the GoFundMe campaign of local sommelier Nicolas Giraud, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.” – KARE 11 TV/NBC Minnesota

Watch the video and read the full article at kare11.com (September 23, 2017)

Five Dishes to Try For Five Bucks – Affordable Eats From Around the Twin Cities

PinKU Seared Salmon – The lightly seared salmon is served on a crisped square of rice. The fish is cooked just enough. It’s a quick-service experience, but for those not in a hurry, they have sake and champagne.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by  at twincities.eater.com (September 15, 2017)

Unique Eats and Eateries of the Twin Cities

“From the time you hit the front door, with its bright yellow graphics, you have a clue that PinKU is not just an ordinary sushi restaurant. PinKU strives to serve traditional, fast, and very fresh food like that found in the street stalls of Japan. A narrow, alley-like thirty-two-seat place with black walls and a giant flowered fish mural, PinKU is stylish, urban, and built for speed. Dishes on the menu – only ten of them – derived from the cooking style of co-owner John Sugimura’s grandmothers in Japan. They include variations of salmon, shrimp, tuna, and pot stickers, each artfully prepared in front of you in the open kitchen, and they’re delivered to your table, pronto, in little metal trays. Whether it’s shrimp on a tiny bed of radish noodles, salmon lightly “kissed” with a blowtorch on crispy rice, or rolls, such as the special crab roll, each dish combines flavor and textures that will make you close your eyes and make yummy sounds.” – Terri Peterson Smith

Read the book by Terri Peterson Smith, Reedy Press, LLC (August 15, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food is published in the Japan Globe-Trotter Guidebook 2017-18

“PinKU Japanese Street Food is commanding a level of street creditability in Japan due to the impact and knowledge penetrating the Minneapolis food scene.” – Globe-Trotter Travel Guides

See page 342 in the Japan Globe-Trotter Guidebook 2017-18

PinKU Chef Serves Japanese Fare With a Bit of Personal History

“As residents embrace PinKU, so too has Sugimura — once a resident himself — embraced the neighborhood. The ‘fine-casual’ restaurant is no stranger to personal art. Beyond flowers and kimono fabric designs, the restaurant’s logo, a 29-foot mural of a fish, features Sugimura’s family crest. The latest art installation at the University Avenue restaurant delves deeper into his personal story to honor a difficult part of his family’s history. Sugimura, a Minnesota native, recently installed Japanese cherry blossoms outside the restaurant. The yellow decals are simple on their own, but as symbols for Japanese Americans like Sugimura, they are images of pride.” – The Journal

Read the full article by Eric Best at journalmpls.com (August 24, 2017)

6 Twin Cities Chefs Dish on Their Favorite State Fair Foods

“I go to the State Fair, every other year, for one reason, and it’s not because I love the food, or because I want to see barn door hinges or whatever. I go because my family always went, and I have really fond memories of that, of getting into the station wagon at 7:30 in the morning, and fighting with my siblings, and sharing a bucket of French fries with my mom, and she’s been gone for 20 years. I’ll get the strawberry shake at the (Kiwanis) stand by the art building, because that’s what I’ve been doing for 50 years. And then I’ll walk over to the place by the political booths, the one that sells the skin-on, all-beef hot dogs, because they have the raw onions, not the grilled onions. And then maybe some fries, but the small, or the medium, and you share it with a bunch of people. My parents weren’t thrifty, or cheap, it’s just that you didn’t go crazy back then, the way you do now. I’m not saying that I never had corn on the cob, but it was extra, you know what I mean? Sorry to be so sappy about it, but that’s how I do it, in keeping with the way my parents did it.” – John Sugimura

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (August 19. 2017)

Discovering Your Culinary Heritage with PinKU

“In today’s market, there are very few things and secrets that you can use to enable your success greater than coming up with a great story. Having that story that sets yourself apart, that honest, authentic story that you really feel incredibly passionate about and that you are willing to stand on a top of the mountain and yell at the top of your lungs is what sets PinKU apart.” – Restaurant MBA

Listen to the full podcast by Austin Fabel at restaurantmba.com (August 8, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food’s Xiaoteng Huang Selected as the Cover Feature for the August Edition of the Minnesota Business Magazine

Pan-Asian Food Partnership

“We represent a successful immigrant story and a succession. John’s grandmother immigrated to America in the 1920s and ran a restaurant until she was put in an internment camp for four and a half years. Now we’re carrying on her tradition of serving authentic Japanese food. In my case, I came to this country not speaking a word of English, and so many people from my community helped me along the way. I think it’s my obligation to give back and lead a positive impact in return.” – Minnesota Business Magazine

Read the full article by Raha Khan at minnesotabusiness.com (August, 2017)

Announcing Minnesota’s Most Likely to Succeed Finalists 

PinKU Japanese Street Food has been chosen as a finalist in the Minnesota Business Magazine’s Most Likely to Succeed Startup Award. PinKU will be included in the November 2017 issue of Minnesota Business Magazine – Minnesota Business Magazine

Read the complete list at minnesotabusiness.com (August, 2017)

Supporter Spotlight: Why I Choose Tubman

Chef Sugimura’s passion for Japanese cuisine and culture is shared by supporting Tubman. “By supporting Tubman, I achieve a personal goal of helping to make this crazy world a little bit better!” – John Sugimura

Read the full article in the Tubman 2017 Summer Newsletter at www.tubman.org (August, 2017)

Nordeast Foodcast with PinKU

“The Nordeast Podcast + PinKU Japanese Street Food! Executive Chef and partner, John Sugimura, hosts the guys for some incredible food and even better conversation. From the zero-shortcuts mentality to the history of passion behind the food, tune in and find out what makes this gem of Northeast so special!” – The Nordeast Podcast

Listen to the full interview at soundcloud.com/nordeastpodcast (August, 2017)

Need a New Regular Spot? Try These 5 Twin Cities Restaurants

“PinKU democratizes sushi – no longer confining Japanese food to fine dining (or the grocery store case). It strikes a happy, affordable medium where sushi is every Tuesday lunch, and sometimes dinner, as well. This impeccably sourced fish is served in portions and iterations that are approachable above all, especially at a few bucks a pop, in a sliver of a space that prides itself on fast-food speeds. Expect spicy tuna tartare on crispy rice, jumbo crispy shrimp with spicy mayo, fatty salmon rolls, and just a few other faves that everyone wants (and returns for).” – GoMN

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at gomn.com (July 14, 2017)

Tasty Places: PinKU

“I tasted the shrimp first, a perfectly battered and perky assemblage that thrilled with its balance of flavors and textures – equally crisp and luscious. I took just that one bite because I wanted to savor more – to save it for last. So then it was tuna’s turn, which scared me because, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not a tuna girl. Maybe I’ve had it once before, a taste of someone’s appetizer. After PinKU, I’m not longer scared of the spicy tuna. In fact, I’m excited for more if they’re all as good as this one, briny and zesty and wonderful.” – Dianderthal

Read the full article by Diane Brown at dianderthal.com (July 7, 2017)

Take a Peek at This Poke

“I am a fan! Here is what makes this place so great. You get to enjoy a wonderful sampling of different dishes without breaking the bank. I had the spicy tuna, tuna poke, and seared salmon. All were fabulous… It is so affordable. I was so happy!” – The Local Yelp

Read the full article by Kara Doucette at yelp.com (July 5, 2017)

Where to Eat on the 4th of July

While PinKU does not offer views of the water, or the fireworks, it does offer Japanese street food and the PinKU Elixir, a mix of sake champagne, orange liqueur, pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime. PinKU also is offering a potsticker specials all day on the 4th.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by  at twincities.eater.com (July 3, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Receives the 2017 “People Love Us On Yelp” Award

A Day in the Life: John Sugimura

“Opening PinKU Japanese Street Food and getting to know my customers who have been so complimentary of our restaurant, food, and hospitality. Their authentic generosity has blown me away. People and service is my passions.” – Lavender Magazine

Read the full article by Andy Lien at lavendermagazine.com (June 8, 2017)

It’s Always the Happiest Hour at PinKU – 7 Great Deals on Sushi (There’s Something for Every Budget)

“Consistently our top pick for great sushi at a great price (and this year’s Best of the Twin Cities choice for Best Sushi), PinKU has turned local sushi culture on its head. For starters, the fast-casual counter-service means super fast delivery and dining, making it a perfect lunch or pre-show meal. You’ll easily be in and out within 30 minutes. But that fact doesn’t make the place any less warm, and it fits the bill for a special occasion, too. But possibly the best thing recommending it is the value. Check out the wall-hanging menu (itself a beautiful work of art) for all-day and all-night prices that fall in the surprising $5 to $8 range. This strategy allows you to pick and choose your favorite things, like lightly seared tuna or salmon on crispy rice cake or salmon fat rolls.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (May 4, 2017)

The Global Food of the Twin Cities

“Minneapolis has become a melting pot in recent decades. Eat your way around the world at these St. Paul and Minneapolis standouts.

JAPANESE
The menu at PinKU Japanese Street Food has a curated menus of only 11 items, like yellowtail under a confetti of fried onions. Minneapolis; pinkujapanese.com; entrées $4-$9″ – Mecca Bos.

Read the full article in the May 2017 edition of the Travel & Leisure Magazine (May, 2017)

Xiaoteng Huang Wins Youth Leader of the Year Award in 2016 by the City of Minneapolis Third Ward

“Xiaoteng Huang is the founder and co-owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food. He founded the restaurant to create an affordable option for authentic Japanese food connected to the neighborhood. PinKU’s menu features ten items including pork dumplings, fried ramen, spicy tuna with crispy rice, and salmon fat roll.” – City Council Member Jacob Frey

Read the full article in the Minneapolis Third Ward Newsletter (April 26, 2017)

Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities

“John is wonderful guy who knows a lot about Japanese culture and cuisine who wanted to bring a taste of home to Minnesota. What I love about it is it’s the best sushi and it is really approachable and affordable. The crispy potstickers are probably the best in the Twin Cities.” The restaurants featured in City Pages 2017 Best of the Twin Cities issue by Food and Drink critic Mecca Bos from City Pages shares three spots worth checking out, including two located in suburban strip malls. – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at twincitieslive.com (April 24, 2017)

Best of the Twin Cities 2017
Best Sushi Winner

“Sushi isn’t meant to be only a ceremonial, fetishistic, pristine adventure. It can be, but often the meal is more about sustenance. It’s dinner. Thanks to PinKU, we can all enjoy a little more sushi, a little more often, and it doesn’t have to be the mystery fish at some all-you-can-eat joint. This is the real deal, presented in an immaculate counter-service package that doesn’t leave authenticity in the dust. Co-owner John Sugimura is part Japanese, regularly returns to his homeland to ‘check’ himself, and reports that his grandmother would be proud of PinKU. He serves all of the greatest hits he perfected in a past career as a personal chef: spicy tuna on crispy rice, seared salmon fat rolls, jumbo crispy shrimp over radish noodles, all served at a fair price in a mod, gleaming package, replete with silver cafeteria trays. Local and Japanese beer and good wine round out the experience. Fair prices, superior service, and unique surrounds make this not only our best sushi spot of the moment, but one of our favorite places, period.” – City Pages

Read the full article at citypages.com (April, 2017)

12 Places to Get Poke in the Twin Cities

PinKU in Northeast offers up authentic Japanese-inspired food including the ‘tuna pok.’ It’s marinated tuna with radish, avocado, jalapeño, cucumber, and green onions.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by Lindsay Abraham at twincities.eater.com (April 20, 2017)

PinKU Chef Delivers Umami Punch

“’I have only 17 items in my pantry, all of which were things my grandmother used in her kitchen, and many of them have a direct tie to koji,’ says Japanese-American chef John Sugimura, managing partner and executive chef at PinKU, a Japanese street food restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From his tiny storefront, Sugimura serves up Japanese specialties, many of which rely on the transformative power of koji to break down protein into glutamates, which increases umami flavor.” – Marzetti Foodservice

Read the full article at marzettifoodservice.com (April 17, 2017)

Donkey Cheese at Heyday and 4 Other Things You Should Try This Week

“Owner John Sugimura recently returned from an eating tour of Japan, where he picked up influence from regional potsticker traditions. He brought them home to put his own culinary stamp on them. PinKU will be serving the half dozen new potstickers on a rotating basis — our favorite is the pillowy tofu — but you’d be wise to check back often, as each inspiration is wildly different and worth a look.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (April 12, 2017)

PinKU’s New Potsticker Menu: “It’s About More Than Just Pork Wrapped in Skins”

“The wee northeast Minneapolis restaurant PinKU has had an outsized effect on how we think about sushi. No longer does it have to be expensive, unapproachable, or the stuff of special occasion. John Sugimura and his partner X Huang took all of the notions that make sushi feel difficult or out-of-reach and set about changing them. The result is a sushi restaurant that is as affordable and easygoing as it is delicious.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (April 3, 2017)

We Pre-gamed with Potstickers!

“On March 31st, the Yelp Elite Squad kicked off the weekend by pre-gaming at PinKU Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis! PinKU is a fine-casual restaurant that offers culturally genuine and time-tested items made from the freshest ingredients – their fish and produce are purchased fresh every morning! Their authentic Japanese street food is complemented by a cultural, entertaining, and educational experience that is truly unforgettable.” – Yelp Official Blog

Read the full article by Kara Doucette at yelpblog.com (April 3, 2017)

Best of the Twin Cities 2017 Reader’s Choice Poll
Best Restaurant Nominee

City Pages “Reader’s Choice Poll” highlights all the best people to follow, the best things to do, and the best places to eat, drink, play, and party. PinKU Japanese Street Food was voted into the final round for top five “Best New Restaurants.” PinKU Japanese Street Food is something really cool that happened over the last year that needed to be reflected in the “Best of the Twin Cities 2017” list.

Read the full article at citypages.com (March 9, 2017)

Taste of the Twin Cities: PinKU Japanese Street Food

“As the vibrant Twin Cities food scene continues to grow and reflect the diversity of its people, in some kitchens there is also an emphasis on delivering fresh taste fast. PinKU Japanese Street food is a prime example. With just ten menu items, it is successfully turning the concept of ‘fast food’ on its head.” – KARE 11 TV/NBC Minnesota

Watch the video and read the full article by Pat Evans at kare11.com (March 8, 2017)

Looking for Street Food in the Twin Cities? Here are 7 Favorite Spots

“From the kimono-inspired graphics to the pretty food, this Japanese eatery with an open kitchen is artfully done. We loved everything we tried. And that’s a good thing. Plates are small, and ordering three dishes is recommended to make a complete meal. Make sure one of those dishes is the spicy tuna on crispy rice. The two pieces of raw tuna were top notch, jalapeno slices on top gave the dish a welcome extra kick, and the toasty bed of rice it all rested on added a nutty crunch. Other standouts were the potstickers, shrimp with a spicy mayo and salmon that melted in your mouth.” – Pioneer Press

Read the full article by Nancy Ngo at twincities.com (March 2, 2017)

Local Restaurants Joining the Coalition of Small Business United Against Hate

“John Sugimura owns PinKU, the modern sushi restaurant that recently opened in northeast Minneapolis. He chose the name, which means ‘pink’ in Japanese, because in that language, it also has connotations of ‘peace’ and ‘democracy.’ He wanted to always gently remind himself of where he came from. Sugimura is a longtime social advocate and activist, but his recent conversion to restaurant owner has taken him out of his usual circles.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (February 4, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Nominated for Business of the Year in 2016 by the City of Minneapolis Third Ward

“Singles Awareness Day” at Milkjam and 4 Other Great Ideas for an Alt-Valentine’s Day

“PinKU’s no-pretense sushi and environment is perfect for a low-pressure outing or gathering. And how’s this for low pressure: free-flowing champagne, beer, and sake with an all-you-can-enjoy dinner of spicy tuna on crispy rice and crispy shrimp on radish and rice for $35 per person.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (January 31, 2017)

Best Picks Jan. 26–Feb. 8

“The small-but-mighty PinKU has had a — to use a food writing cliché — meteoric rise into the local food scene even if the entire restaurant could fit inside your garage. The concept opened last spring and is already preparing to expand to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where it’ll bring its menu of perfected Japanese street food bites to a global audience.” – The Journal

Read the full article by Eric Best at journalmpls.com (January 25, 2017)

Eat.Drink.Dish MPLS Shares the Highlights of Their Exclusive Foodie Dinner at PinKU

“We had so much fun hosting it and we would like to thank Chef John Sugimura and the PinKU staff for creating such a delicious menu, and the guests for attending and being such a great audience!” – Eat.Drink.Dish MPLS (January 25, 2017)

Local Crate Interviews Chef John Sugimura on the Story of PinKU


“PinKU Japanese Street Food is just about taking it to the next level, it’s about keeping it real, it’s about doing it authentically.” – John Sugimura (January 25, 2017)

Local Crate Collaborates with Chef John Sugimura


“Local Crate and John Sugimura of PinKU in NE Minneapolis are at it again! John showed us how he makes seared salmon on rice with salted cabbage and sweet pickles. He also showed us how PinKU makes their home-brewed soy sauce! As always, we had a blast working with John.” – Local Crate (January 25, 2017)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Receives the 2016 “People Love Us On Yelp” Award

DeRusha Eats: PinKU Japanese Street Food In NE Mpls.

“It is a deceptively simple menu with just 10 items, but what John Sugimura and Xiaoteng Huang are doing with their Minneapolis restaurant PinKU Japanese Street Food is far from simple … PinKU opened in northeast Minneapolis in a tiny 1000-square foot storefront across from Surdyk’s Liquor in the middle of 2016. In six months, it’s already won over food critics and diners.” – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Watch the video and read the full article by Jason DeRusha at minnesota.cbslocal.com (January 12, 2017)

The Lori and Julia Show on myTalk 107.1

“One (restaurant) that I would send everybody to is a terricfic place called PinKU Japanese Street Food…One of my favorite things there is shrimp…it is fantastic…and he maybe has the best potstickers in the Twin Cities…oh my gosh they’re so good…get as many as you’re allowed to get!” – Rick Nelson

Listen to the full conversation with Lori & Julia and Rick Nelson at mytalk1071.com (January 6, 2017)

Twin Cities’ Top Upcoming Food Events

Eat.Drink.Dish MPLS is hosting another edition of their Exclusive Foodie Dinner series, this time in collaboration with PinKU Japanese Street Food. The event will take place on Saturday, January 21 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. $38 per person scores five signature dishes from Chef Sugimura like spicy tuna on crispy rice, seared salmon on rice cake and Gion style potstickers, plus a beverage of choice. Due to the layout of the restaurant, seating will be in pairs, so bring your best foodie friend or prepare to get to know a new friend over a glass of sake. – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Alex Lodner at minneapolis.eater.com (January 6, 2017)

The Top 10 Twin Cities Restaurant Dishes of 2016

“Sure, chef John Sugimura’s pork- and ginger-filled potstickers are a major draw. Ditto the velvety tuna poke. But what keeps me coming back to this stylish and affordable quick-service operation is the pepper- and mayonnaise-coated fried shrimp ($6.50). Each juicy, delicately crunchy bite is alive with heat, without the ponderous breading that characterizes the vast majority of Minnesota fried shrimp. At these prices, get two orders.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (December 30, 2016)

The Biggest Shockers in Twin Cities Dining This Year

“PinKU. It seemed initially to just be a sort of a workaday ‘let’s bring Japanese street fare into the quality assembly line world of Chipotle’ effort, but the food is so tasty and beautifully executed that it has become a mainstay for my family. It’s delightful.” – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Joy Summers at minneapolis.eater.com (December 29, 2016)

Steph’s 2017 Food Forecast: Four Trends That will Shape How You Eat This Year

“One of my favorite new trends is the small-but-focused Asian restaurant – a stark contrast to the oversized buffets that cater to every whim…PinKU set the tone with 32 seats and a menu of Asian dumplings, rolls, and noodle dishes…What the trend boils down to is that small spots can offer opportunities for creativity if the support is there. If you’re willing to wait for something good and thoughtful, you will be rewarded.” – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

Read the full article by Stephanie March at mspmag.com (December 28, 2016)

Established Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Restaurants We Love

“I believe I ate at PinKU more than any other restaurant. I’m okay with that.” – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Joy Summers at minneapolis.eater.com (December 28, 2016)

What Was Awesome (and Awful) in 2016

“PinKU is a hidden gem, so don’t tell anyone about it. The potstickers are amazing …These fast casual models are taking over from the elegant, sit down experiences of 2015 and before.” – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Joy Summers at minneapolis.eater.com (December 27, 2016)

Look Back at the Twin Cities’ Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2016

“Xiaoteng Huang and John Sugimura are the forces behind PinKU Japanese Street Food. A surge of high-profile openings made the year’s final few weeks an exciting and delicious time to be a Twin Cities diner.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (December 23, 2016)

Get Cheap and Delicious Japanese Street Food at PinKU – Just Don’t Call It Sushi

“You know PinKU is different as soon as you walk in the door…It’s just one of the many ways in which barriers fall away at this 32-seat game-changer.” – City Pages

Read the full review by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (December 21, 2016)

PinKU Makes Affordable Sushi for the People

“Since opening this summer across the street from Surdyk’s, John Sugimura and Xiaoteng Huang’s PinKU has been a sushi game-changer. From their tiny northeast Minneapolis restaurant the pair sling affordable, approachable raw and lightly seared fish that finds common ground between Japanese tradition and American dining tastes.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Alma Guzman at citypages.com (December 21, 2016)

New Year’s Eve on the Town

“Japanophiles will want to get cozy up in this charmer on NYE. There will be two seatings featuring a set menu of gion-style potstickers, Alaskan king crab roll, crispy chicken with pickles, shrimp with rice. Plus three drinks of sake, elixir, champagne, wine, or beer to grease your attempts at shouting Arigato!” – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

Read the full article by Stephanie March and Rebecca Lubecki at mspmag.com (December 15, 2016)

Catering the Holidays

Guest chef John Sugimura with caterer Jesse Kennedy took Fargo businessman Darrel Hansen’s annual holiday party to a whole new level. See pages 113-114. – Design & Living Magazine

Read the full article in the December 2016 edition of the Design & Living Magazine (December, 2016)

5 Things You Should be Eating This Week

“The recently opened Japanese street food cafe is an unassuming addition to University Ave., but inside is a gorgeously minimalist lunch counter that lets you mix and match dishes to build an entree. Whatever you pick for sides, always build your meal around the jumbo crispy shrimp. Big, crustily fried shrimp are slathered in a pink spicy mayo and served over shredded radish. With a little hit of soy sauce, the small plate becomes much bigger, taking on layers of tart, umami, saltiness, and freshness.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Jerard Fagerberg at citypages.com (November 15, 2016)

Moveable Feast: “Best Of” List

In a new spin on the classic Best Of list, Minnesota Monthly features PinKU on its “Next Best” food trends for 2017 list. – Classical MPR

Listen to the full conversation with John Birge and Rachel Hutton at classicalmpr.org (November 11, 2016)

From Park Side to PinKU

“Marshall’s diversity helped Xiaoteng Huang grow, eventually flourish. When Xiaoteng Huang was 10 years old he started fifth grade at Park Side School in Marshall after emigrating from China knowing no English. Now, at the age of 27, he is the co-owner of a busy, well-reviewed new restaurant on University Avenue in Minneapolis.”  – Marshall Independent

Read the full article by Karin Elton at marshallindependent.com (November 4, 2016)

Best New Restaurants 2016

“Small but mighty is what comes to mind with PinKU. The tiny Japanese street food eatery debuted with style and panache in Northeast, and if this is a model for future foodist endeavors, we are on board.”  – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

Read the full article by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl and Stephanie March at mspmag.com (October 31, 2016)

Today, Smaller is Better in Minneapolis Retail

“This new, smaller mentality is not limited to retail. Restaurants, pizza joints and bars are seeing a similar trend. Larger restaurants like Rosa Mexicana with miles between tables are closing; more compact models like PinKU Japanese Street Food and Parlour are thriving. The fact that their success is not unique proves the point. The retail/restaurant world is changing and we must embrace it.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Minneapolis City Council Member Jacob Frey at startribune.com (October 27, 2016)

The John Williams Show on WCCO News Radio 830

“Businesses down at Chili’s, Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, all those chains where they’re reporting real slacks in sales..they’re hurting because a lot of people want to go to places like PinKU, where you order at the counter, the food comes very quickly, it’s all very casual, it’s fairly inexpensive, and you can get in and out rather quickly for not a lot of money.” – Rick Nelson

Listen to the full conversation with John Williams and Rick Nelson at minnesota.cbslocal.com (October, 26, 2016)

5 Things You Should be Eating This Week

“In a departure from his exquisite sush, chef/owner John Sugimara is running a special on Japanese-style fried chicken, a half pound of pure craveability. Heavily marinated in a soy mixture, the meat takes on a meaty umami. It’s then double-fried in potato starch, making the crunch serious enough to shake the neighborhood. Accompanied by a light mayonnaise for dipping, it’s an irresistible addition to PinKU’s signature, futuristic, bento-style lunch trays. Get it before it’s gone.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (October 24, 2016)

Best of the Twin Cities – Global Restaurant

“In the race to become the next Chipotle (without the E. coli), we’re seeing an explosion in counter-service spots putting a modern, fast-casual spin on flavors from all over the globe…Local, independent operators have brought us…PinKU (Japanese street-cart snacks and sushi rolls). These slick, bustling eateries consistently make international flavors even more accessible.” – Minnesota Monthly

Read the full article by Jason Derusha, Jahna Peloquin, Quinton Skinner, Joy Summers, Valerie Turgeon, and Maxine Whitely at minnesotamonthly.com (October 21, 2016)

The Jason Show on Fox 9


It is my favorite sushi in the world!” – Jason Matheson (October 12, 2016)

Quick Global Eats Boost Fast-casual Dining Boom in NE Minneapolis

“My first tip: When that rice is labeled ‘crispy,’ go for it… Next tip: Don’t ignore the shrimp, the menu’s top seller. Many unseen steps go into its perfection… Potstickers are sold in servings of four ($4), eight ($7) and 12 ($9), and here’s tip No. 3: Always order more than initial instincts might suggest. They’re that good.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (October 12, 2016)

Heavy Table Top Five

“We didn’t know how close we’d come to a PinKU dish when we started making this Local Crate Crispy Shrimp with Sticky Rice meal…But by the time we were done grating radishes and frying shrimp, we had a spot-on rendition of one of the most craveable entries in the realm, a harmonious mix of tender rice, lightly crunchy shrimp, spicy mayo, scallions, and black sesame seeds.” – Heavy Table

Read the full article by James Norton at heavytable.com (September 23, 2016)

Believe the Hype: PinKU Japanese

“We’d go so far as to say this is exactly the model of food we need all over MPLS + STPL. First, the space is beautiful, well designed, importantly unique, and efficiently small…If this review sounds uncharacteristically gushing from us, it’s because we pretty much fell in love with the look and food of PinKU on our visit.” – Secrets of the City

Read the full article at secretsofthecity.com (August 26, 2016)

6 Places to Eat in East Hennepin

“This tiny, 30-seat fast Japanese spot cranks out a short and fresh list of toothy dumplings, crispy shrimp, well-cut sushi, and other specialties in a sleek setting destined to spawn siblings. You can’t miss the yellow front door.” – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

Read the full article by Stephanie March at mspmag.com (August 25, 2016)

PinKU Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis

“PinKU came to be out of the culmination of a lifelong foodie’s dreams and a sushi chef’s passion for authentic Japanese. Both owners aspire for PinKU to be a national brand, and after my experience, I have no doubt they will succeed.” – Girls on Food

Read the full article by Christina W at girlsonfood.net (August 19, 2016)

Appetites: The “Chipotle-fication” of the Twin Cities

PinKU attributed as part of the solution for serving up some of the best Asian and highest quality authentic world food. – MPR News

Listen to the full conversation with Tom Crann and James Norton at mprnews.org (August 3, 2016)

Sea Vegetables Offer a Tasty Alternative

John Sugimura, creative managing partner of newly opened PinKU Japanese Street Food, offers expert opinions on tasty sea vegetables as a high-flavor, low-calorie food. – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Julie Kendrick at startribune.com (August 3, 2016)

PinKU Serves Up Sushi Like You’ve Never Had It

“In the true spirit of Japanese cooking, where less is more and chefs are specialists not generalists, PinKU has transformed a sliver of real estate into something altogether different for northeast Minneapolis’ dining scene. – City Pages

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at citypages.com (August 1, 2016)

Japanese Street Food Hits Northeast

“PinKU, a counter-service Japanese street food restaurant, opened this summer and is proving that small is the new big. – Mpls/St. Paul Magazine

Read the full article by Stephanie March at mspmag.com (July 26, 2016)

More Street Foods Come to Northeast Minneapolis

“The street food trend continues to be red hot. New restaurants that have popped in northeast Minneapolis can be added to that list…PinKU Japanese is now open daily starting at 5 p.m. Xiaoteng Huang and John Sugimura are offering ‘fine-casual’ Japanese street food with a small menu of 11 items. Look for a menu of seafood rolls as well as some rice and noodle dishes.” – Pioneer Press

Read the full article by Nancy Ngo at twincities.com (June 22, 2016)

PinKU in Minneapolis

“The Kyoto-street-food-inspired PinKU may be on the verge of pulling off something incredibly difficult — presenting humble, honest, beautifully prepared Japanese-inspired food without too much pandering to the American palate – Heavy Table

Read the full article by James Norton at heavytable.com (July 20, 2016)

3 Flavorful New Restaurants in Minneapolis’ Oldest Neighborhood

“Here’s how fresh the food is at this stylish, quick-service newcomer: The kitchen has no real storage space. ‘We don’t need it,’ said chef/co-owner John Sugimura. ‘We buy the fish and produce that we need every morning.’ The menu gets right down to business: salmon, shrimp and tuna, done up in nine delectable combinations. Potstickers, too, and a brief selection of beer, wine and sake. That’s it, and that’s all you’ll need.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (July 15, 2016)

PinKU Japanese Street Food

“PinKU Japanese Street Food doesn’t fit neatly into a category. It’s not casual, although you do order at the counter. It’s not fine dining, despite the fact the food is beautifully presented. There are no reservations and no tipping. According to Xiaoteng Huang (X) and John Sugimura, partners and the founders of the restaurant, that’s exactly how they planned it. ‘” – Mill City Times

Read the full article by Julie Craven at millcitytimes.com (June 25, 2016)

Small But Mighty PinKU Brings “Fine Casual” Japanese Street Food to Northeast

“PinKU is possibly the smallest restaurant in town in terms of space, with around 1,000 square feet shared between the kitchen and the dining room. But Sugimura and Huang have big plans for their Japanese street food concept…They’ve even coined a term to describe what they’re doing: ‘fine casual.'” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mary Jo Rasmussen at citypages.com (June 10, 2016)

PinKU Prepares to Open Flagship Restaurant in Northeast

“At first glance, PinKU’s flagship restaurant in Northeast is easy to look over. Yet, a closer look at the apartment-sized concept reveals the founders’ fine-tuning to be a leaner, more refined fast-casual restaurant chain.” – The Journal

Read the full article by Eric Best at journalmpls.com (June 10, 2016)

Make a Splash with Sea Vegetables

“Luxurious in taste, affordable in price…New foods need to have curb appeal, and the fresh flavor of sea vegetables not only makes them appealing, but correlates them with health in diners’ minds.” – On Your Plate

Read the full article by Julie Kendrick at blog.marzettifoodservice.com (May 23, 2016)

Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis’ Future

“The owners are sushi chef John Sugimura, whose resume includes celebrated sushi restaurants in California, and Xiaoteng Huang, who has traded in the corporate life for his love of food and restaurants…plans to serve dishes from his childhood.” – Pioneer Press

Read the full article by Nancy Ngo at twincities.com (March 17, 2016)

PinKU Brings Japanese Street Food and Midwest Hospitality to Northeast

“Tokyo manages to squeeze more than 13 million people into a landmass equivalent to L.A. County. PinKU, a new restaurant focusing on Japanese street food, will channel that mindset, operating in a space that comes in at around 1,000 square feet.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Mary Jo Rasmussen at citypages.com (March 15, 2016)

Japanese Street Food Startup Lands in Northeast Minneapolis

“Japanese street food is coming to Northeast Minneapolis in what the founders hope will be the first of many restaurants.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Nick Halter at bizjournals.com (March 8, 2016)

All the Food News You Need to Know Right Now

“In much, much happier news, PinKU is opening in Northeast with a late night cocktail party tonight from 10 P.M. to midnight with otoshi (snacks) and drinks. The restaurant will serve Japanese street food like a fat tuna roll and fried ramen with crispy pork.” – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Joy Summers at minneapolis.eater.com (March, 2016)

Restaurant News

“While we’re on the subject of sushi, Northeast is getting a new, tiny restaurant called PinKU that will serve Japanese street food.” – Eater Minneapolis

Read the full article by Joy Summers at minneapolis.eater.com (March 11, 2016)

Japanese Street Food Restaurant PinKU to Open in Northeast

“It’s about stripping away all the pretense, all the unnecessary stuff. We want to be able to focus our resources on the food. That’s why we only have 10 items, so we can do those 10 items better than anybody that we know.” – The Journal

Read the full article by Eric Best at journalmpls.com (March 10, 2016)

Restaurant News

“This is our story, it’s everything about where we’ve come from as two Asian dudes with a passion for food and entrepreneurship.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at startribune.com (March 9, 2016)