While lounging in a flexible cafe chair, watching downtown passersby, sipping a homemade smoothie and nibbling something exotic – perhaps a cream cheese, spinach, bacon and mango roll – it’s easy to let one’s mind get lost in the blissful paradoxes created by the new Grab & Go Sushi Company, located inside Affirmations Community Center.
Though it may not be what you’d expect to find in a gay community center, owners Joshua Taylor, 23, and Jason Shock, 25, are happy to be in the same building as all of the center’s resources. “I’m happy to have a space to work in,” Taylor said. “Being able to serve people in a community I’m proud to be part of is a nice thing to wake up to every day.”
The athletic-looking young Taylor, who looks even younger than his 25 years, studied under experienced Japanese chefs for six years. “When I was 15, I got a job working as a dishwasher at Nami. On my second day I told them I wanted to be a sushi chef. I worked as an unpaid apprentice for a year under Simon Bennett, who taught me in the classical Japanese tradition. It’s a lot like an internship where you work for the honor of being able to learn.”
Taylor said people often underestimate his abilities based on assumptions about what a sushi chef should look like. But once customers see the young expert hand roll an order on the counter before them, their doubts diminish.
The other great mind-bender about Grab & Go is the food. Expectations about sushi should be left at the door. “Sushi is not just raw fish,” Taylor said. “People always think that.” Grab & Go offers vegetarian rolls as well as traditional rolls – some with fish and others without. The menu also features original gourmet creations that will shock and delight the sushi connoisseur. Guests will find rolls with items such as roasted duck, asparagus, goat cheese and spicy mixed greens.
The cafe offers more than sushi: sandwiches take up nearly a third of the menu. There are also salads, smoothies, and homemade soups served in bread bowls.
So why does a place with such a variety of fare call itself “Grab & Go Sushi?”
That’s because it began as a catering company that specializes in sushi. Taylor and Shock also make packaged sushi for local grocery stores. “We approached Affirmations about wanting to rent the kitchen to make rolls for the catering business, and they came up with the idea of doing the cafe. It’s a good opportunity for us both.”
Taylor and Shock’s creations are also available in Hollywood Markets, Fresh Approach and Ferndale Foods.
The cafe has partnered with Affirmations in order to generate more support for its Team Affirmations in this year’s AIDS Walk Detroit. For each spicy tuna roll purchase, 50 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Team Affirmations.
To learn more about Taylor and Shock’s catering service, retail products, or their location, check out their website at http://www.grabandgosushico.com or call 248-825-5338. Grab & Go Sushi is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.