NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — For many in the San Diego area, Kyoto Gift & Food in National City has been a staple for decades.
The Japanese market, located in the 1700 block of Sweetwater Road, has been serving up fresh sushi to customers for 60 years, being passed down from generation to generation before eventually ending up in Filipino hands.
When you walk inside, you are immediately faced with history and culture. Walk a little further back, however, and you will find a small sushi restaurant — a place known to all true locals.
“Anyone can do food, anyone can make a California roll … but we do tons of it,” Jeff Roberto, who runs the sushi shop at the back of Kyoto, told FOX 5.
Many in San Diego know Sushi On A Roll as a catering company, owned and operated by Roberto.
“I thought I’d do it for like three weeks, three months, maybe,” Roberto said. “And 32 years later, still rocking and rolling, you know.”
Roberto’s business is certainly on a roll.
The San Diegan caters to the masses, feeding thousands of people with a small team.
Roberto catered Qualcomm’s 25th-anniversary celebration, a gig that required feeding 16,000 in a single day, he says. In total, the business owner says that he and his team made 43,000 pieces of sushi that day.
Despite his experience with larger events, Roberto still puts his heart and soul into his little shop inside Kyoto, a place where people can see how the sushi is made.
“A lot of people want to see how it’s cut. They want to taste the fresh fish,” Roberto said.
Taste, quality, passion and devotion to his community drive Roberto all these years later.
“It’s when you get a little girl, boy who says your California roll is the best. You had a hard day and one guy is like, ‘this is so good,’” the chef said. “And that’s why a lot of us cook, to get that response.”