Sushi Mike appears bored. Mike Ham owns two restaurants, one in Andersonville and another in the West Loop, but over the last three years, Ham said he's let go, ceding control of the two Tanoshii Sushi restaurants to staff. Now he's venturing to the suburbs as Ham is poised to soon open a third restaurant at 1935 Sheridan Road in Highland Park. Don't worry, he's not franchising.
"I'm done. I'm 50," Ham said. "This is it for me."
A regular customer who lives in Highland Park and drives down to the West Loop provided the inspiration for the new location, Ham said. It will seat about 50 and it's smaller than the city locations. The new restaurant will give him a new outlet to battle that boredom. He's looking forward to spending time there and serving new dishes that he's already tested out in the city. Dishes will use unique ingredients like a tangerine balsamic vinegar. He also described a new soba noodle salad topped with tuna.
They'll have a liquor license at the Highland Park location, and despite running restaurants for the last 14 or so years, he knows many suburban residents may not be familiar with his cooking. He relishes the opportunity to share his cuisine with them.
"Try me, I guarantee every dish," he said. "And we're very different; I'm using ingredients that are really hard to get in Illinois state, so I travel out to Wisconsin and places like that to bring in those certain types of ingredients. We're just a different experience of having sushi."