Phillip Lin at ETC

Samurai Sushi Slays

December 7, 2022
Sushi-loving Spiders at the University of Richmond have a local restaurateur to thank for their easy access to grab-and-go Samurai Sushi rolls and salads at Passport Café and ETC.

Sushi-loving Spiders at the University of Richmond (UR) have a local restaurateur to thank for their easy access to grab-and-go rolls and salads on campus. More than 30 years ago, Phillip Lin moved to the United States from China at just 19 years old. He landed in Richmond to be closer to family and opened Samurai Sushi in 2005 after working in several American and Japanese restaurants.
Nearly a decade later, Lin expanded his restaurant business to cater for UR. You can find a variety of Samurai Sushi products on campus daily at ETC in the Heilman Center and Passport Café in the Carole Weinstein International Center. You’ll also find Lin and his team on campus each semester during exam week when the Heilman Dining Center hosts sushi night, a beloved event where more than 800 rolls are distributed to students.

“In 2014, we began to serve a variety of sushi rolls to the University of Richmond,” Lin said of the partnership. “Our goal is to provide the best quality sushi to the students, staff, faculty, and communities.”

Samurai Sushi is so popular that Dining Services decided to offer a sushi-making class for students at the Demonstration Kitchen. “We thought that a sushi making class was a perfect opportunity to partner with a local guest chef. We knew the students would be excited about having an expert lead them through the demonstration,” said UR’s registered dietitian Madeline Nathe. “Sushi is a food that can bring people in who haven’t tried it before but also is a favorite food for others. It’s an opportunity to put a face to the name for students who purchase their sushi at ETC and Passport.”
The latest classes occurred in September 2022 and there are plans for more in the spring of 2023. Lin often brings his employee trainer Mikey Dung, a sushi chef with 18 years of experience, to lead the demonstrations, which include how to make his personal favorite, a spicy tuna roll. 

“It’s not a dish that is super easy to recreate at home so I think it’s great for the students to learn how sushi is made and get to be hands on with it,” Nathe added. “Plus, quality sushi is a balanced meal with fish, a lean protein and source of omega 3’s, energizing carbohydrates from rice, and fiber and nutrients from the veggies and nori that get wrapped in the roll.”

Building on the success of Samurai Sushi, Lin has since opened another Japanese restaurant, Takara Ramen. In addition to sushi, Lin’s menu offers ramen bowls and izakayas, which are small plate Japanese dishes traditionally found at casual sake bars. With locations in Henrico and Chesterfield, Spiders on and off campus have many options to support this local Dining Services vendor!