Robots are taking over New York. Last month, Dalup Modern Indian opened in Chelsea with robots making dosas. MakiMaki, a sushi spot in Midtown that opened a few years back, has just opened a second location, this time near Grand Central, bringing along its sushi technology.
Sushi is hot right now (but, of course, when isn't it?) Last month Oona Tempest revived Sushi by Bae, her $110 timed omakase spot in Union Square—more casual than the high-end sushi counters she was trained at. Chelsea's Japanese fishing restaurant, Zauo is also opening their own omakase spot, Sushi Zauo. In May, Sushinao also opened in Chelsea with a $24 seated sushi menu.
But MakiMaki hopes to bill itself as a premiere destination for cheap sushi, targeting the on-the-go lunch crowd.
So often seeking out sushi means choosing between expensive versions, prepared by expertly trained sushi chefs or the cheap grab 'n go where fish sits pre-made. MakiMaki is made-to-order, assembled in front of customers, with prices under $10—made possible by Japanese robotics technology that allows the MakiMaki team to outsource washing and cooking rice to the machines.
Owner Kevin Takarada grew up working in his parents' sushi spot, Toni's Sushi Bar, now the oldest sushi spot in South Beach, Miami. At MakiMaki he's patented a system for wrapping hand rolls—also accomplished by machines—using a cone-shaped sleeve that gets peeled open like a concert wristband, to maximize freshness. For now, Takarada only has his sights set on Midtown with the hopes of bringing more diversity to the lunch options.
MakiMaki is located at 1369 6th Ave, New York, NY 10019, with a second location at 360 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017.