PinKU in Minneapolis is Closing After New Year’s Eve Blowout

PinKU Japanese Street Food has announced that it’s closing its doors with one last party on New Year’s Eve. The creative, casual restaurant opened in northeast Minneapolis in 2016 and has had an impressive run. At one point it expanded to co-op grab-and-go dishes and an outlet at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which closed during the pandemic. Xiaoteng (X) Huang opened the restaurant with the help of chef John Sugimura, who created a menu with crispy gyoza and salmon cakes that quickly drew fans. More recently, chef Tomoyo Rudin worked with Huang to update the menu. PinKU’s employees have been invited to work inside the restaurant replacing it, Pa Tea & Poke, which will open Jan. 1. The epic last meal on Dec. 31 will be filled with classics from the menu, served all-you-can-eat for $99.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Joy Summers at (December 20, 2021)

Taiwanese bubble tea and poke bowl shop replacing Japanese restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis

A Japanese restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis is closing at the end of the month and will immediately be replaced by a new woman-owned Taiwanese bubble tea and poke bowl concept. After a more than five-year run, PinKU Japanese Street Food at 20 University Ave. NE. will shutter Dec. 31, and the following day, Jan. 1, Pa Tea & Poke will launch in the space. In 2016, co-founders Xiaoteng “X” Huang and chef John Sugimura opened PinKU with the goal of bringing high-quality, authentic and affordable Japanese street food to the neighborhood…For its last hurrah, PinKU is hosting a New Year’s Eve “farewell celebration” dinner, offering seven all-you-can-eat courses and an open bar for $99 per person.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Brianna Kelly at (December 17, 2021)

PinKU’s New Year’s Eve Celebration will be Its Swan Song

After more than five years of operation, the Northeast Minneapolis Japanese street food restaurant PinKU will be shutting its doors at 20 University Avenue. The restaurant is calling it quits after a New Year’s Eve celebration on December 31 that features a 7-course all-you-can-eat menu with open bar for $99. Writing about PinKU in 2016, we noted: The very short menu at PinKU is perfect. It’s etched into wooden boards hung from pegs near the door, and it’s mostly driven by tuna, salmon, or shrimp, rearranged with various understated accompaniments. Undersung but crucial support comes from the rice, which we found to be invariably well seasoned and perfectly cooked. This isn’t the case at many (if not most) run-of-the-mill sushi places, and the places that take care with their rice (Obento-Ya and Kyatchi come to mind) really stand out.” – Heavytable

Read the full article by James Norton at (December 17, 2021)

Wine and Dine at These LGBTQ-owned Restaurants

Sushi restaurants are easy to come by these days, but authentic Japanese street food? Now that’s a catch. Chef and owner John Sugimura sources fresh seafood daily and gives it the starring role in gorgeously plated—and flavored—feasts in Northeast Minneapolis. Must tryCrispy shrimp with spicy mayo, green onions, sesame seeds and cabbage.” – Explore Minnesota

Read the full article by Jess Hoffert at (June 1, 2021)

Last-minute Easter and Passover Meals to Go From 4 Twin Cities Restaurants

The three-course meal includes a salmon-tuna-crab specialty roll, the kitchen’s signature crispy shrimp on rice and a beef rice bowl ($30). Available April 2, 3, and 4.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at (March 26, 2021)

Relish: Salmon on Crispy Rice by John Sugimura

“For most of his career, John Sugimura worked in public service roles with adults and children with disabilities, as well as those on the autism spectrum. It was fulfilling work, but Sugimura felt a spark to pursue his own passion…Initially, Sugimura worked as a private chef, sharing his cuisine with smaller audiences. But in 2016, he and X Huang opened PinKU Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis. Sugimura says, ‘The world was ready for my story. And every time [people] come into my restaurant, it’s like, Hi, we’re here to support you. And that’s a really powerful thing.'” – Twin Cities PBS

Watch the full story by Amy Melin at (February 25, 2021)

TPT’s “Relish” Becomes a Cooking Show for the COVID Era

For another episode, PinKU chef John Sugimura brought in a platter that had belonged to his grandmother. A Japanese restaurant owner, she had lost the platter when she was sent to a U.S. internment camp during World War II. The platter survived the war and she got it back. It made its way to the Japanese American National Museum, an official Smithsonian affiliate, and Sugimura borrowed it for the shoot.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Sharyn Jackson at (February 16, 2021)

Chefs’ Most Memorable Valentine’s Day Meals, From The Romantic To The Absurd

For a holiday that’s supposed to be all about love, Valentine’s Day often ends up being mostly about pressure. Not only do couples try to live up to an unrealistic idea of eternal romance, but chefs can stress on a night when everyone is nervous and the restaurant is jammed. For John Sugimura, chef and owner of Minneapolis-based PinKU Japanese Street Food restaurant, his first big V-Day came just months after opening his cozy urban eatery. The reservation list for the small space was soon filled with 32 couples. He decided it was time to get creative.” – Huff Post

Read the full article by Julie Kendrick at (February 16, 2021)

CAMPU Episode 6: Food

“Other traditions have been fragmented by the same dynamics that broke apart families in the mess halls during the war, the fuzziness of memory over time, and the loss of loved ones. At the beginning of this episode, we spoke with chef John Sugimura, who told us why he puts purple cabbage under his dishes at his restaurant in Minneapolis, PinKU.” – Densho Blog

Listen to the full interview at (February 3, 2021)

6 Twin Cities Food Industry Leaders Sum Up the Year That Was 2020

Early on in the pandemic, John Sugimura, chef/co-owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food, discovered that his four-year-old restaurant was ‘set up for a pandemic, even though I didn’t know a pandemic was coming,’ he said. His secret? The 900-square foot operation was already a lean, mean dining machine. ‘We don’t have a 130-seat dining room and 40 people on staff, and that has allowed us to be fluid. We can make adjustments on the fly. We didn’t have to reinvent ourselves, and go through all the horrible steps that others had to go through. We were never knocked down and had to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. We just marched on. We haven’t grown, but we’re not destitute, either. We’ve kept our head above water. It’s been a tight ship, and now we’re pros at running a tight ship. I’ve never felt more on top of my game.’” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson at (December 16, 2020)

With a Focus on Adaptation, 14 Accelerator Teams Pitch Their Ideas

I am an entrepreneur because I saw a problem, said Yale School of Management student Xiaoteng Huang as he opened his portion of Tsai CITY’s Accelerator Pitch Off last week. He was introducing his venture, PinKU Japanese Street Food, but that sentence could have described many of his fellow cohort members. This fall’s Accelerator cohort brought together 14 student teams that collectively represented seven schools across Yale, from the School of Drama to the School of Medicine.” – Yale University

Read the full article at (November 23, 2020)

5 Best Things Our Food Writers Ate in the Twin Cities This Week

The week’s political drama no doubt ratcheted up the nation’s collective hunger for comfort foods. My anxiety took refuge in what chef/owner John Sugimura describes as his ‘go-to family meal,’ a serving of his pork-filled dumplings paired with his exceptional way with shrimp…Oh, that shrimp. It’s a delectable balancing act that’s all light crispiness on the outside and juicy springiness on the inside, bolstered by the tease of spiced-up mayonnaise. No wonder it’s the menu’s No. 1 seller. But neck-and-neck in the sales race, with good reason, are those dazzling gyoza. A testament to this kitchen’s prowess, they’re filled with a blend of ground pork and shredded cabbage boosted by jolts of ginger, garlic chives and sesame oil. Once they’ve been steamed, the thin, pleated wrappers are caramelized in a hot pan, transforming them into an irresistible bite-size snack. I nearly inhaled them, and by the second or third (they sold five to a serving) I could feel my jittery nerves taking the equivalent of a deep cleansing breath.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Sharyn Jackson and Rick Nelson at (November 6, 2020)

“The Whole F***ing Thing is Pink”: Chef John Sugimura on His Culinary Inspiration

From uncovering family secrets, to meetings with sushi masters, Chef John Sugimura takes us on a journey to find his culinary calling and reconnect with his Japanese American heritage.” – Cook Rassa

Read the full article by Johnny Garmeson at (October 30, 2020)

The 19 Restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis: Our Local Awards

Most unique Asian food: PinKU Japanese Street Food. Somehow, PinKU feels like both a sushi bar and a food truck, all at once. You’ll find the usual sushi rolls as well as some crazy fish-topped rice plates. Not to mention, a rotating menu of specials so unique that you won’t find them anywhere else. PS – Rumor is, these guys don’t even own a freezer. Their food is that fresh!” – Discover The Cities

Read the full article by Sean P at (October 27, 2020)

Mill City Times Interview Xiaoteng “X” Huang of PinKU Japanese Street Food

“The only way that we will open dine-in is if all of our employees are ok with it, are comfortable with it. The most important thing for me is that we can’t always prioritize profit over people.” – Mill City Times

Watch the full interview by Brianna Rose on the October episode of “Milling About” on Mill City Times (October 22, 2020)

Meet Tsai CITY (Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale) 2020 Launch Pad and Accelerator Cohorts

Tsai CITY has welcomed 36 student teams — collectively representing a diverse array of for-profit ventures, nonprofits, and creative initiatives — to its fall 2020 Launch Pad and Accelerator cohorts. 15 of these teams (including PinKU Japanese Street Food) will spend the semester in Tsai CITY’s Accelerator, which is designed for teams with demonstrated traction and provides support through a $2000 grant, workshops, tailored mentoring, and more.” – Yale University

Read the full article at (October 12, 2020)

With Business Down More Than a Third, Restaurants Dreading Winter Chill

Takeout used to make up about 30% of orders before the pandemic at PinKU Japanese Street Food. Now it’s 90%, but chef and owner John Sugimura said he’s accepted the change. ‘We can’t be smug and turn our backs on what customers want,’ he said. ‘We’ve never needed our customers more.’… Japanese specialties such as poke, tuna rolls and seared salmon rice travel well, he said. Sugimura handles deliveries himself to save the 23 to 30% fee that delivery services such as Door Dash and Bite Squad charge. He found the face-to-face interaction boosted his spirit as well. ‘When I show up on people’s doorstep, that’s intimate,’ Sugimura said. ‘You develop a lot of support and cheerleaders. You know people are rooting for you.’ As a result of the changes, Sugimura’s revenue is 2% higher this year while neighboring places such as Keegan’s Irish Pub, JL Beers and a Red’s Savoy Pizza branch have closed.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by John Ewoldt at (October 10, 2020)

The 7 Best Sushi Restaurants in Minneapolis & St. Paul

Okay, PinKU in Northeast Minneapolis might not be a traditional sushi place per say, but this spot is so delicious we had to include it. And hey, sushi is on the menu! And the rumor is, it’s so fresh that these guys don’t even own a freezer! Outside of that solid sushi, you’ll also find some awesome street-food inspired rice plates and an ever-rotating menu of fantastic specials.” – Discover The Cities

Read the full article by Sean P at (September 17, 2020)

Where to Order Curbside Pick Up and Deliveries in Northeast Minneapolis

Northeast is a sprawling neighborhood packed with restaurants from fine dining classics like the 1940s steakhouse Jax Cafe to newly opened restaurants like the Mexican take out only spot Nixta. Use this map to find a place by address for take out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with everything from kebabs, to Chicago-style dipped beef, to satay, there’s something for every mood still available for curbside take out… PinKU Japanese Street food available curbside Monday through Saturday.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by Joy Summers at (August 11, 2020)

Where to Order Sushi Takeout Around the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities has a sushi scene that focuses on quality and sustainability above anything else, which is impressive considering we are completely landlocked and miles from any ocean. Indulge in a little grab-and-go of maki, nigiri, or even rolls stuffed with a little Austin-Minnesota sourced Spam, the options around town are glorious. PinKU Japanese Street Food – This lively spot in Northeast specializes in affordable Japanese street fare and serves a fantastic, fresh selection of sushi in addition to other dishes like yakitori, gyoza, and more.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article at (July 23, 2020)

Making His Grandmother Proud

The owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food is cooking up something good in Northeast Minneapolis. You can say Chef John Sugimura has an obsession. The Minnesota-born, third-generation Japanese American is fixated with Japan. The food, culture, temples, technology, architecture—you name it… If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed at PinKU, it’s the taste and quality of the food. I had the pleasure of eating at PinKU multiple times before my interview with Sugimura, and I knew the Gyoza, or Japanese pan-fried pork dumplings, are a must… PinKU holds the highest rating on Yelp for any Japanese restaurant in the Twin Cities, and according to Sugimura, it has the highest Yelp rating for any Japanese restaurant in the United States. One reviewer says, ‘PinKU offers such high quality Japanese Street Food that is both casual yet refined…and is so good it kinda hurts. They value ingredient quality over quantity, and the food and variety is so worth it’… Don’t expect the end of PinKU, or the delicious creations from Chef John Sugimura, anytime soon. PinKU is small and lean and fit to survive.” – Lavender Magazine

Read the full article by Mike Marcotte at (July 2, 2020)

The 5: Wendy Maybury’s Top Five Things You Need to Eat in Minneapolis Under $10

I was made in Japan and as my parents tell me, I’ve loved Japanese food since birth. Pinku Japanese Street cuisine is one of my all-time favorites it’s also across the street from my favorite camera shop (Hey there West Photo!) so I like to kill two birds with one stone. The crispy shrimp rice is amazing and just $7. The shrimp has a little kick – and sits on a delightful little sushi rice cake. They have many other mouthwatering little bites. You can get a Sapporo and eat just enough to feel full but not enough that you feel stuffed– unless you do what I do and buy four little bites… it gives me an excuse to try everything so I usually bring friends. The staff here is top-notch, friendly, and eager to explain any ingredients you don’t recognize.” –

Read the full article by Interrobang Staff at (June 26, 2020)

Waiting Tables: 3 Twin Cities Restaurants Prepare For Return Of Dine-In Service

“For the first time in months, Minnesotans can enjoy a meal inside a restaurant again as owners reopened at 50% capacity this week. As part of WCCO’s series ‘Waiting Tables,’ Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield checks in for the third time with three restaurants that are now ready to serve… In northeast Minneapolis, PinKU owner Xiaoteng Huang says he never thought he’d be where he is today. ‘We just had to be innovative to act quickly, to adapt to the recent changes,’ Huang said. Like restructuring their dining room, making it a low-touch environment and coming up with an impromptu patio… If you want to dine in at PinKU, you have to wear a mask and get your temperature taken. Huang says even though he never closed, he took a hit to his bottom line. But his first day of in-house dining was hopeful. ‘Our sales were on par with our sales prior to the pandemic,’ Huang said. Each of the restaurants say they plan to keep fighting, as they are finally ready to serve.” – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield at (June 11, 2020)

Food Under Fire

“I am thrilled to have Xiaoteng “X” Huang with me today. He’s the managing partner of PinKU, a fast-casual Japanese street food restaurant in northeast Minneapolis… The COVID-19 crisis is proving to be the most challenging event in X’s professional life, but he is managing to turn it into an opportunity for growth. So how’s PinkU doing during this time? What is X doing differently to adapt? Listen in and get the full story!” – Matt Gundrum

Listen to the full podcast of Food Under Fire with Matt Gundrum on Spotify and Apple Podcasts (May 15, 2020)

Coronavirus Impact: “It’s Not Just Like We Can Give Up,” Says Local Restaurant Owner Fighting To Survive

“WCCO is checking back in with three Twin Cities restaurants, fighting to survive, in our series ‘Waiting Tables.’ A lot can change in two weeks – for better or for worse…The restaurant (PinKU), which had a small dining room, took less of a hit because of they could facilitate takeout easily, but they are still operating at 60% of typical business. The first two weeks of the shutdown, everyone wanted to support our business so we got a lot of people the last week we have seen our business slow down a little bit. But he’s still hiring and paying $15 an hour and hoping that soon he’ll be even busier. The dining room is reconfigured so that tables will be six feet apart.  Huang says he’ll open his dining room the minute he can. Until then, he said, I just think we have to be calm, optimistic.” – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield at (May 6, 2020)

Here are Minneapolis’s Top 3 Japanese Spots

Looking to satisfy your appetite for Japanese fare? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Japanese spots around Minneapolis, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to meet your needs… First on the list is PinKU Japanese Street Food. Located at 20 University Ave. NE in East Bank-Nicollet Island, the sushi bar and Japanese spot, which offers seafood and more, is the highest-rated Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis, boasting 4.5 stars out of 234 reviews on Yelp.” – Hoodline

Read the full article at (April 22, 2020)

Waiting Tables: The Pivot to Takeout

“Over at PinKU Japanese Street Food, sales are down, but not too far down… PinKU is operating at 60% of their regular business, some days are 100%. They are at full staff to hiring four to five more… As restaurant owners fight to stay afloat, they all agree that those they have served are now serving them. Whether it’s ordering more than they normally do, or giving us extra tips to give to the employees, people have come out and support us, and that is something that we had never imagined, and that has made our lives easier.” – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield at (April 16, 2020)

The Mill City Times Interview: PinKU Japanese Street Food

The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t diminish our desire to eat good food. Minneapolis is blessed with hundreds of restaurants still cooking and delivering delicious options for us. We talked with PinKU Japanese Street Food about their unique history and how to order their offerings in this time of restaurant shutdowns.” – Mill City Times

Read the full article by Becky Fillinger at (April 7, 2020)

Uncovering Amazake: Japan’s Ancient Fermented “Super Drink”

John Sugimura (杉村), corporate executive chef and concept-brand director at PinKU Japanese Street Food in Minneapolis, has turned the drink into a signature part of his offerings, using it both as a creamy base and a way to add unexpected bursts of texture.” – BBC

Read the full article by Laura Studarus at (March 18, 2020)

PinKU Japanese on Twin Cities Live

“John Sugimura is the co-owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food. He says there is a universal enthusiasm for Gyozas, which are dumplings. His restaurant– PinKU Japanese Street Food makes homemade-daily-by hand-never frozen Gyozas and he stopped by to show us how to make them.” – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (March 12, 2020)

Airport Eats with Stephanie Hansen on the Jason Show on Fox 9

“Enjoy authentic Japanese street food from celebrated local chef, John Sugimura served in a chic tea house with a gorgeous two-story view onto the airfield.” – The Jason Show (March 3, 2020)

11 Essential Twin Cities Sushi Restaurants

This lively little spot specializes in affordable Japanese street fare and serves a fantastic, fresh selection of sushi in addition to other dishes like yakitori, gyoza, and more.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article at (January 14, 2020)

Foodie Fridays with Matt Gundrum on KBEM Jazz88

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“As the food & drink correspondent for KBEM Jazz88, I report on happenings and developments throughout the Minneapolis and St. Paul dining scene. We had the pleasure of welcoming X to the studio today. He’s the managing partner over at PinKU Japanese Steet Food over in Northeast Minneapolis. We talked about how a 4.0 at Cornell and several jobs at big banks led to a dissatisfaction with his path, which took a 180 degree turn into the restaurant industry. We also discussed emigrating from China at 10, plans for expanding the business, and why he chose Japanese food as the culinary canvas for his restaurant.
” – Matt Gundrum

Listen to the full conversation with Matt Gundrum at (January 10, 2020)

9 Things That Defined How We Ate and Drank in the Twin Cities in 2019

MSP Airport became a dining destination in its own right. With loads of local options, go early before your flight and give yourself time for a meal. Notable among the new spots that opened in 2019: Full-service restaurant Cook & the Ox has a menu by Jack Riebel of the Lexington; retro eatery and celebrity magnet Hi-Lo Diner opened on Concourse F; and northeast Minneapolis’ PinKU, a Japanese street food spot, is anchoring a dazzling new airport food court.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Sharyn Jackson and Rick Nelson at (December 27, 2019)

Celebrate New Year’s Eve (and Survive New Year’s Day) with These Local Restaurants

“PinKU Japanese Street Food will offer an Izakaya style five-course dinner menu for $45 on New Year’s Eve. It includes popular traditional Japanese pub dishes such as tuna/salmon/shrimp temari sushi, grilled chicken yakitori, beef tataki with filet mignon, crispy rice and pickled vegetables, pork tonkatsu, a dorayaki red bean pancake with matcha and vanilla ice cream, and a selection of Japanese craft cocktails.” – City Pages

Read the full article by Sarah Brumble at (December 27, 2019)

The Best Ramen Restaurants in America

Chef John Sugimura dedicates his Minneapolis-based, Japanese street food restaurant, PinKU, to his grandmother Tsui, the family matriarch who immigrated to California in the 1920s, survived the internment at Tule Lake with her willpower, and eventually moved the family to Minnesota. PinKU is part celebration, part reconnection, all brought together with Chef Sugimura’s own takes on staples like gyoza, hand rolls and inari.” – Thrillist

Read the full article by  at (December 20, 2019)

11 Essentials Bowls of Ramen in the Twin Cities

PinKU is the Japanese street food restaurant on University Avenue in Northeast. It’s an excellent spot for the brothless ramen, mazamen. The focus is on full flavor and long tendrils of noodles.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by  at (December 1, 2019)

Where to Eat at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Nobody wants to hang out at the airport, but long lines, crowded flights, and the possibility of weather delays are always made better with a cocktail and a snack. In addition to some well-loved chains, there are a plenty of restaurants that local chefs have added some Twin Cities flavor to give travelers a taste of Minneapolis and St. Paul…PinKU, a popular Minneapolis spot for crispy dumplings and Japanese street food just opened at the airport. (Terminal 1, Mall Food Court)” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by  at (November 25, 2019)

Twin Cities Restaurants Are Bringing Local Flavors to MSP Airport

For local restaurateurs, being invited to set up shop at MSP is a transformative chance to claim their own piece of $235 million in annual concession sales. And it’s a way to give travelers from far and wide a taste of their brand. ‘I’m very encouraged and I believe the brand is ready to go bigger,” said John Sugimura, chef and co-owner of PinKU. ‘I believe that’s why MSP airport is as fancy as it is. How sparkly and pretty and shiny can we make it so we can be super-proud of our local hometown brand?’ ” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Sharyn Jackson at (October 19, 2019)

4 Must-Try Eateries in Northeast Minneapolis’s East Bank-Nicollet Island Neighborhood

PinKU Japanese Street Food, a sushi bar and Japanese spot that offers seafood and more, is another much-loved neighborhood go-to, with 4.5 stars out of 215 Yelp reviews. Head over to 20 University Ave. NE to see for yourself. The spot uses culturally genuine recipes and the freshest ingredients.” – WCCO/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article at (October 19, 2019)

5 Best Things Our Food Critic Ate in the Twin Cities This Week

I’m fairly certain I could live, and live very well, on chef John Sugimura’s cooking. Especially his potstickers ($5.50 for five), an expert mix of ground pork and cabbage that’s seasoned with plenty of ginger and finished with a pop of garlic chives. The wrappers are thin and delicate, and after they’re steamed they’re introduced to a hot pan, which leaves them nicely crisped and caramelized. They’re just the right proportions, slightly too big to be labeled “bite-sized,” and I’ve never encountered better in the Twin Cities. Just as delicious is the kitchen’s bestseller: plump, juicy fried shrimp ($7), brushed with a spiced-up mayonnaise and served with rice. The results could be ponderous and overdone, but they’re anything but. Good (correction: great) news for travelers: Sugimura and business partner Xiaoteng Huang are opening an outlet at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in a few weeks.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at (October 4, 2019)

Dining at MSP Takes-off

When asked if he was at all nervous about opening his first unit in an airport, John Sugimura of PinKU Japanese Street Food, replied, ‘I’m 100 percent confident.’ It’s been three years since his RFP was accepted and it’s been a thoughtful process…He also feels good about bringing Japanese food to the airport…He saves on delivery costs because what food he brings in every morning, all goes out the door. “I shop daily,’ he says. ‘I’m the only licensed restaurant (in Minnesota) with no freezer or walk-in refrigerator.’ As the center of the food hall, PinKU is also big on aesthetics, including a wrap of 16 kimono patterns and cherry blossoms. ‘My own plan has been to do more airports,’ he says. And with his first time out the gate, he has a 10-year lease with an option to renew.” – Foodservice News

Read the full article by Nancy Weingartner Monroe at (October, 2019)

The 4 Best Spots to Score Sushi in Minneapolis

Craving sushi? Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top sushi outlets in Minneapolis, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to fill the bill. Topping the list is PinKU Japanese Street Food. Located at 20 University Ave. NE in East Bank-Nicollet Island, the sushi bar and Japanese spot, which offers seafood and more, is the highest-rated sushi spot in Minneapolis, boasting 4.5 stars out of 213 reviews on Yelp.” – Yelp Minneapolis

Read the full article at (September 25, 2019)

The Jason Show on Fox 9

“Chef John Sugimura will compete on Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network. He joined us to talk about the show and give us a sneak peek at some of his food.” – Jason Matheson (August 5, 2019)

13 Essential Eats in Northeast Minneapolis

Housed in an industrial, art-lined space, PinKU offers a wide selection of shareable small plates, featuring daily selections on a menu board hung at the front of the restaurant. Get a few orders of the wagyu beef on crispy rice, seared salmon nigiri, and an okonomiyaki to share.” – Eater Twin Cities

Read the full article by  at (August 5, 2019)

WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota Features PinKU Japanese in Article on Minneapolis Minimum Wage Increase

“It’s lunchtime at PinKU Japanese Restaurant. Diners scan the menu, order, pay and then wait for food at their tables. John Sugimura is a partner at PinKU…He says ‘We aren’t going change a thing. We are not going to cut any corners. Just give us a little bit more wiggle room on time deliver a great meal, and people will understand that.’ – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article by Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield at (July 1, 2019)

Introducing Grab & Go PinKU

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“Starting this Summer, we’re excited to partner with PinKU to offer fresh sushi and Japanese street food at the co-op every day…We worked closely with the co-op’s culinary team to build a carefully curated menu for co-op shoppers. Each menu item will be perfectly prepared with the finest fish and ethnic ingredients in the traditional Japanese way, just like it is in our restaurant. We only know how to prepare food in one way…the correct way… every time.
” – Cultivate Newsletter

Read the full article in the summer 2019 edition of the Twin Cities Community Co-op Newsletter (July 2019)

The Best Global Cuisine in the Twin Cities

“John Sugimura has an extraordinary knack for knowing what Minnesotans want out of sushi. And by that, we are not talking about mayonnaise-y monster rolls (though those do have their place and time). Instead, he knows we love our tuna, we love our salmon and shrimp, and we love texture and relative familiarity. That’s why his sliver of a counter-service space, PinKU, strikes a smart balance between low and high brow, accessibility and elegance. The trim menu, of fewer than a dozen choices, means easy ordering. Spicy tuna lovers go for the spicy tuna crispy rice, and salmon lovers should check out the quick-sear technique, a signature. Get in and out for lunch in less than 30 minutes and under $15. This can’t-miss formula has Sugimura on the verge of an airport empire, in different U.S. cities—the first at MSP International, opening this summer.” – Minnesota Monthly

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at (June 28, 2019)

A Restaurant Revolution: How the Twin Cities Elevated the Food Scene to 3-star Quality 

“An encouraging change of careers. Plan B has worked out just fine for these restaurant folks…One encouraging source is the number of people who have chosen to leave a wide variety of professional pursuits in favor of following new careers in restaurants. The breadth and depth of their experience have proved to have a powerful effect on our dining scene. Consider John Sugimura, who left a life in government service to open PinKU Japanese Street Food.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at (June 20, 2019)

2019 Business of Pride: John Sugimura, PinKU Restaurant Group

“As a chef, John Sugimura draws on a long tradition of Japanese cuisine, but he also relies heavily on the influence of his obaasan, a grandmother who taught him that food brings people together, and that it should be served with respect, harmony and authenticity. That’s shown in every dish presented by Sugimura and his PinKU Restaurant Group partner Xiaoteng Huang, and it also resonates in his community involvement, including support for LGBTQ rights.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Elizabeth Millard at (June 13, 2019)

Where to Eat in the Twin Cities, And Taste the World

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“If I were ever in a desert-island situation, subsisting on canned mackerel and Tang, the dish I’d dream most about eating is the crunchy, browned rectangle of rice topped with spicy tuna, serrano pepper slices, and daikon at PinKU Japanese Street Food. Each item from the mix-and-match menu at chef John Sugimura’s fast-casual eatery is served on a cafeteria tray, and though I’d happily fill it with nothing but tuna, I always make room for the gyoza and a special like onigiri or crackly karaage fried chicken.
” – Bon Appétit Magazine

Read the full article by Ashlea Halpern at (June, 4 2019)

PinKU Japanese on Twin Cities Live

“If you find yourself in Northeast Minneapolis or flying out of Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, be sure to visit PinKU Japanese Street Food.  Chef John Sugimura shows us how to make one of their top sellers at home.” – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (April 29, 2019)

Big Changes in MSP Airport Food Scene

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Read the full article by Sharyn Jackson at (April 17, 2019)

35 Things to Do in Minneapolis

“Daily fresh fish and produce prepared in an open kitchen in the spirit of Chef John Sagimura’s immigrant obaasan (grandmother) with the values of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility promote the true spirit of Japanese cuisine and traditional sushi. And the small, curated menu is prepared with the certified “Silver Standards” of Japanese cooking that uphold the values of traditional Japanese cuisine, known as washoku, right in Northeast Minneapolis.” – Ticketmaster Blog

Read the full article by Kristen Montag at (April 3, 2019)

2019 40 Under 40: Xiaoteng Huang, PinKU Restaurant Group

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“Xiaoteng ‘X’ Huang may have been born in China, but his dream is to bring the best of Japanese street food to the masses. As founder and managing partner of PinKU Restaurant Group — a chef-driven, fine-casual Japanese restaurant and critical darling of St. Anthony Main — that dream is not only alive, but flourishing as he prepares to open a second location at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport later this year.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Mollee Francisco at (March 19, 2019)

PinKU Japanese Street Food’s Xiaoteng Huang Named 2019 “40 Under 40” Honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal announced PinKU Japanese Street Food’s Xiaoteng Huang on its first round list of 2019 “40 Under 40” honorees, a list that includes young business and community leaders from across industries and throughout the Twin Cities. Each year, Business Journal editors select 40 leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement while also finding time to give back to their communities. This year, there was nearly 400 nominations, making the selection an incredible achievement for Xiaoteng.

Read the full article by Kim Johnson at (January 23, 2019)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Receives the 2018 “People Love Us On Yelp” Award

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PinKU Japanese on Twin Cities Live

“Japanese rice balls were bomb!” – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (December 26, 2018)

Eat and Drink Your Way Through Minneapolis’ Northeast Neighborhood

“For dinner, go to nearby PinKU, where the small but mighty counter-service sushi spot has distilled everything there is to love about sushi into the greatest hits beloved by Americans, all without a single whiff of takeout clamshell corner-cutting. Also find good Japanese beer and fancy bubbles by the glass. Recommended dishes: Yellowtail tuna with crispy onions; spicy tuna on crispy rice.” – Meet Minneapolis

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at (November, 2018)

Northeast of Downtown: Where the Good Times Are

“Nestled along the Mississippi River, Northeast Minneapolis extends far back into a thriving industrial oasis. The area is an embodiment of old meets new – perfectly combined into a melting pot of change and preservation where cobblestone streets meet newly paved roads. New businesses, often local, open their doors next to historic shops and businesses while residential neighborhoods continue to grow as a city-wide hot spot for calling home… PinKU Japanese Street Food serves obsessively crafted small plates, just 11 of them, of Japanese seafood favorites, prepared in an open kitchen.” – Meet Minneapolis

Read the full article at (November, 2018)

5 of the Best Sushi Spots in Minneapolis

“Topping the list is PinKU Japanese Street Food. Located at 20 University Ave. NE in Northeast, the award-winning project of chef John Sugimura and Xiaoteng Huang boasts 4.5 stars out of 174 reviews on Yelp. From the fast-casual spot’s sushi menu, Yelpers recommend the spicy tuna fat roll for its flavors and size. While you’re there, check out its other favorite dishes too, like the crispy shrimp over rice. – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Read the full article at (October 23, 2018)

The Art of Japanese Street Food: PinKU

 “The PinKU experience begins with the menu. Emulating ema, small wooden plaques on which wishes and prayers are written and left outside of shrines, PinKU’s menu is written on wooden boards inside the door. Presented in English, the menu is accessible even to those who enter the restaurant without any knowledge of Japanese cuisine…Perhaps the most striking piece of art in the restaurant is the giant fish mural created by NEMAA artist Jared Tuttle…True to the value of accessibility, the mural is inspired by a piece of graffiti – an art from found on the streets rather than in galleries…At PinKU you can eat amazing, affordable sushi. But you also walk away with much more – you leave the restaurant with a story.” – N Studio Magazine

Read the full article by Alia Jeraj in Issue 2 of the N Studio Magazine, photography by Sarah White (October, 2018)

PinKU Japanese on Twin Cities Live

“John Sugimura is the owner of PinKU Japanese Street Food in Northeast Minneapolis. He stopped to with a recipe on how to make Japanese Rice balls.” – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (October 11, 2018)

Eat.Drink.Dish Names PinKU “The Top 5 Most Instagrammable Restaurants”  on The Jason Show on Fox 9

PinKU is “the explosion of color!” – The Jason Show (July 11, 2018)

With “Nourish” Series, Local Restaurateurs Hope to Address Industry-wide Addiction and Trauma

“PinKU’s northeast Minneapolis restaurant is run by a small staff. When even one employee is struggling, the impact can be broad…Sugimura said that Nourish series events have helped him look at the problem of hiring and retaining employees from a different perspective. Learning ways to create and nurture a trauma-aware working environment has opened his eyes and helped him develop strategies for supporting employees caught in the throes of personal struggles. ‘You have to be an employer who cares,’ Sugimura said. ‘Sometimes that means being direct and tough. You might need to say, I care enough to tell you that you can’t do cocaine before work. That can be a hard thing to say, but it has to happen. Sometimes it’s giving them the time they need to recover and then making space for them when they come back.’ … ‘With my employees, I want to say, while you are working for me, I’m going to embrace you,’ Sugimura said. ‘You don’t have to filter yourself while you are here with me for your six-hour shift. There aren’t a lot of workplaces where you can do that, but a restaurant is one of them.'” – MinnPost

Read the full article by Andy Steiner at (July 9, 2018)

Delicious Alternatives Abound During Food Court Renovation

“Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s ongoing improvement work at Terminal 1 includes a complete overhaul of the main food court off the airport mall…Those venues include PinKU, a local treasure that specializes in Japanese street food; Moe’s Southwestern Grill, an option for southwestern fare with a rock-n-roll attitude; Firehouse Subs, which steams its meats and cheeses to release a rush of flavors; Auntie Anne’s, recognized for its freshly baked soft pretzels; and Shake Shack, a well-known national brand that will open its second Minnesota location at the airport.” – Metropolitan Airport Commission


Read the full article in the MSP Newsletter (June 14, 2018)

Bursting With Pride: PinKU in the Twin Cities, MN

“In June of 2016, John Sugimura and Xiaoteng Huang opened PinKU Japanese Street Food in Northeast Minneapolis – a ‘fine-casual’ Japanese restaurant that showcases fresh ingredients, authenticity, and culture. So fresh, in fact, that they do not have a freezer or a storage backroom onsite. From melt-in-your-mouth seared salmon on savory rice cake, to plump and crispy shrimp drizzled with creamy spicy mayo, they craft Japanese delicacies in front of patrons in the open kitchen. Their food and space not only honor incredible ingredients, but also a concept of harmony and cross-cultural community. PinKU has been so successful at their flagship location, they are currently working on opening up a second location at MSP International Airport.” – Yelp Official Blog

Read the full article by Kara Doucette at (June 11, 2018)

The Very Best Gay-Owned and-Operated Restaurants in the Metro Area

“I could dine in gyoza and dumplings for days – especially if they’re the ones at PinKU, created by chef/co-owner John Sugimura. That’s just one of the endlessly munchable dishes from the casual little shop in Northeast. The goal of this restaurant is to take Japanese food from the top shelf and make it more approachable and affordable for everybody. Sugimura draws on inspiration from dishes his grandmother used to make. The result is the kind of spot that is easy-eating street food that appeals to everyone.” – Lavender Magazine (page 92)

Read the full article by Joy Summers at (June 6, 2018)

PinKU Japanese on Twin Cities Live

“The accolades for one Northeast Minneapolis restaurant have now gone global. LUX Magazine out of London named PinKU Japanese Street Food the best authentic Japanese cuisine in the United States.” – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (May 31, 2018)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Awarded the 2018 Certificate of Excellence Award by TripAdvisor 

PinKU Japanese Street Food has been recognized with the 2018 Certificate of Excellence award, based on the consistently great reviews it has earned on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site. (May 23, 2018)

Cooking With WCCO: PinKU Japanese Street Food

“In today’s Cooking with WCCO, we’re getting a preview of a fun pop-event featuring sushi. Joining us now are Chef John Sugimura from PinKU Japanese Street Food and from Moxy Hotel Zach Rasmussen.” – WCCO TV/CBS Minnesota

Watch the video at (April 13, 2018)

Explore Japan with Chef John Sugimura

“Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility: These are the principles that guide Executive Chef and Partner John Sugimura in his craft at PinKU Japanese Street Food in Northeast Minneapolis. Half German and half Japanese, he grew up in the Twin Cities experiencing very little of his Japanese heritage. In part, no doubt, because of the pain surrounding it: His father and grandmother, a skilled cook and restaurateur herself, were incarcerated at Tule Lake internment camp for four and a half years. Every Christmas, three generations of relatives would gather, giving Sugimura a taste (really, an overdose, he says) of Japanese culture — just enough to whet his appetite.” – Artful Living

Read the full article by Kate Nelson at (March 22, 2018)

10 Under-the-radar Restaurants to Try Right Now in the Twin Cities

“‘Where do you eat when you’re not working?’ is a question that’s frequently lobbed in my direction. This counter-service spot is a frequent response. In their small, spotless storefront, owners Xiaoteng Huang and John Sugimura focus on a dozen or so appealing dishes, all noteworthy for their freshness, simplicity, speed, shareability and affordability (prices rarely exceed $8). The pristine, velvety tuna poke is a must, as is the pepper- and mayonnaise-coated fried shrimp and the seared salmon with rice and avocado. Do not miss the pan-fried, pork-filled dumplings. If there are scallops — sweet, juicy, irresistible — by all means, order them, and the “PinKU Elixir,” a refreshing sake-Champagne cocktail, is a treat.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at (March 21, 2018)

PinKU Japanese Street Food Awarded the Most Authentic Japanese Cuisine 2018 Award by LUX Magazine 

“The judging panel has awarded PinKU Japanese Street Food with the title of: Most Authentic Japanese Cuisine 2018 – Minnesota, United States. Choosing which restaurant or a bar to dine at, can be at times quite overwhelming with the vast variety of choice. With options spanning from fast food to the fine dining, tea house to juice bars. There are many diverse and exciting places to choose from, all offering a high-level quality of service to add to the experience, the restaurant and dink industry is one that always goes the extra mile. As such, the Restaurant and Bar awards raises a glass to those whose innovative thinking, tireless efforts and dedication to the industry has led to the creation of some unique dining places. Our awards seek to showcase the very best of the best this industry has to offer, rewarding those who strive towards providing a unique experience.” – LUX Magazine 

Read the spring edition of the magazine at (March 2018)

MSP Reimagined

“PinKU Japanese street food is the ultimate expression of flavors, colors, passion and skill. With a sushi roll and some cocktails? Sold.” – Metropolitan Airport Commission

Read the full article at (March 14, 2018)

Here’s MSP Airport’s Plan for its Newest Eateries

“If you’re traveling in or out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in the next 18 months or so, your travels will probably take you past one of dozens of new restaurants that will open around the airport…local eateries like Bottle Rocket (from Blue Plate Restaurant Co.), Hi-Lo Diner, PinKU Japanese Street Food and Tattersall Distillery had won coveted spots at the airport.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Mark Reilly at (March 14, 2018)

Emphasizing Local Names, MSP Airport Adding 25-plus New Restaurants

“Dining at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is looking to get even better. And even more local…PinKU Japanese Street Food (get a taste of its delicious, quick-service fare — love that spicy tuna on crispy rice — at its northeast Minneapolis location) will open in August 2019 in the Airport Mall.” – Star Tribune

Read the full article by Rick Nelson at (March 13, 2018)

See How MSP Airport’s Food Newbies Did in Their Debut Year

“The Metropolitan Airports Commission is going through another round of adding new restaurants and bars for Terminal 1, including chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Shake Shack, and local restaurants like PinKU Japanese Street Food and Tattersall Distillery. The airport kicked off construction last weekend for the concepts, which will open by Nov. 2019, said Elizabeth Grzechowiak, the assistant director of concessions and business development with the airport.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Daniel DeBaun at (February 23, 2018)

PinKU’s Cured & Seared Salmon on Rice

“The accolades just keep racking up for one Northeast Minneapolis restaurant. Travel & Leisure Magazine said PinKU Japanese Street Food is the place in town for Japanese food, and they are not alone…City Pages said they have the best sushi in the city. Minnesota Monthly had them as one of the best global restaurants in town. You get the idea.”  – ABC/KSTP Twin Cities Live

Watch the video at (February 21, 2018)

Sneak Peek: Renderings of New $14 million Food Court at MSP Airport

“The Metropolitan Airports Commission, which manages Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, has released renderings of the new food court planned for the main mall area in Terminal 1-Lindbergh. The food court is part of a remodeling project to install 30 new eateries and bars, including chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Shake Shack, and local restaurants like PinKU Japanese Street Food. The new businesses will fill 19 units totaling 82,000 square feet in locations ranging from the main mall area to concourses A, B, C and F.” – Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Read the full article by Nick Williams at (February 7, 2018)

Sushi – Best Sushi Minneapolis and St. Paul Have to Offer

“PinKU is ‘Japanese street food,’ meaning without pretense; no formal sit-downs necessary, or even really possible, here. It also implies and indicates a creativity that makes fast and casual food (flavor-wise, at least) hold its own against the places that are formal and sit-down. PinKU’s hand rolls and seared fish stay crazy with flavor, but they have as much love for fresh vegetables (so much radish!) as they do for fish.” – Twin Cities Agenda

Read the full article by Adrian Daniel Schramm at (February 5, 2018)

Minnesota Food Guide – Authentic Eats

PinKU was featured in the Minnesota Food Guide (page 57 & 66).
Where global flavors meet ferris wheel cocktails – and literally everything in-between. The innovative Minneapolis food and drink scene is ready to impress – and not just with the menus but with our amazing spaces too.

Read the 2018 edition of the Minnesota Food Guide (February 1, 2018)

Romantic Dining At Home

“The best gifts are always the ones made by hand. There is nothing better or more romantic than pulling together a dinner made from scratch. We reached out to some of our favorite gay tastemakers for their best recipes to mix up at home. Start the evening with a stunning cocktail then try a fresh take on battered walleye and finish with PinKU’s spectacular salmon.” – Lavender Magazine

Read the full article by Joy Summers at (February 1, 2018)

The Jason Show on Fox 9

“His Japanese restaurant was named Most Likely to Succeed in 2017 by Minnesota Business Magazine, and by every account they were right.” – Jason Matheson (January 4, 2018)

Where to Eat and Drink Near the U.S. Bank Stadium

“This small space offers some of the biggest flavors in town. Chef-owner John Sugimura, who prides himself on an approachable, affordable menu, offers traditional Japanese sushi, snacks and drinks in just 960-square feet. Be sure to order one – or more – small plates of crispy dumplings and jumbo crispy shrimp with rice. After you eat, walk or drive along nearby SE Main Street for some selfie-worthy views of downtown and the historic Stone Arch Bridge. If you miss out during your visit, don’t worry — PinKU has plans to open a location in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport. – Eater

Read the full article by Vox Creative at (January 4, 2018)

Good Day LA on FOX 11 Los Angeles

Chef John Sugimura making spicy tuna crispy rice to ring in the new year on FOX 11 Los Angeles.

Watch the full video at (December 21, 2017)

Where to Eat in Minneapolis During Super Bowl Week

“PinKU’s approach to approachable and affordable sushi has garnered this wee sliver of a restaurant a cult following. A much bigger deal than the sum of its parts, head there for piles of piping-hot crispy shrimp, the best spicy tuna in town, and iridescent fingers of yellowtail topped with tangles of crisp onion. Also sip counter-service bubbly, sake, and Japanese beer.” – GoMN

Read the full article by Mecca Bos at (December 21, 2017)

International Adventures in Minneapolis

“PinKU should be your next stop. Walk into PinKU and you will immediately notice the abstract and colorful artwork covering the walls. PinKU serves Japanese street food in a cozy setting. Even the menu is artfully displayed on wooden blocks from the moment you walk through the door. The quality of the fresh salmon and tuna in the hand rolls and rice dishes is unbelievable! The small sizes of the dishes make it so you can sample two or three items (or more!) per person making it a true culinary adventure every time.” – Globe to Go

Read the full article by Krista O. at (December 21, 2017)

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 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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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.

The menu at PinKU Japanese Street Food has a curated menus of only 11 items, like yellowtail under a confetti of fried onions. Minneapolis;; 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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (March 9, 2016)