(keep reading to learn what happened)
Season: 3 | View All Season 3 Episodes
Original Episode Air Date: May 14, 2010
Sushi Ko Address: 2200 E Thousand Oaks Blvd Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Sushi Ko was a Thousand Oaks, California restaurant featured on Season 3 of Kitchen Nightmares.
Though the Sushi Ko Kitchen Nightmares episode aired in May 2010, the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay happened around a year earlier in mid-2009.
It was Season 3 Episode 12 of Kitchen Nightmares.
We meet Chef Akira, his wife Lisa, and their grown-up children Hana and Sammy in this episode.
Things are not going as well as they are supposed to be, either with the restaurant or the family, unfortunately.
Named after the popular Sushi Ko restaurant in Bel Air where Akira once worked, Akira’s Sushi Ko, in Thousand Oaks CA was once quite successful.
Note – the restaurant seems to go by Sushi Ko, though some people also spell is Sushiko or Sushi-Ko.
Eventually, crowds started thinning slowly and currently the tables are empty and the business is on the pathway of doom, which is why he asked for help with the Sushi Ko Kitchen Nightmares episode.
Chef Akira is understandably depressed about the state of affairs and his wife’s disapproval worsens it.
The children are distressed too about the deteriorating business and family relations.
The family and the business are steadily moving deep into debt.
After lending a listening ear to the troubles, Gordon Ramsay decides to sample the food.
Akira recommends a sushi pizza. However, Ashleigh the server, cautions against it.
Despite that warning, Ramsay goes ahead and orders it along with a bowl of miso, green tower and salmon sashimi.
He is disappointed to find the soup lukewarm, stale, and salty.
The salmon sashimi frozen pizza is revolting and to top it all there is hair in the green tower. Not a great start…
Inside the kitchen, he finds the staff moving around without wearing hats to keep their hair in.
Gordon Ramsay gives a piece of his mind to improve the service.
Sammy and Hana admit to Ramsay about their dislike of the restaurant and the financial support they had offered to keep everything going.
Thanks to Ramsay, the restaurant is unusually crowded that day for dinner.
Ramsay discovers that the sushi sticks are reused to cut down the expenses. And it’s just the starters.
Even more grave matters follow one by one.
The fryer is faulty and refrigerator is malfunctioning. Then he sees the mayonnaise kept outside that may pose a major health hazard.
The pile of mistakes mounts up when dairy, meat and eggs are found in the ice-box apart from vegetables.
Lisa begins her verbal onslaught of Akira again.
Ramsay advises her to quiet and points out that this is not the way to go about to boost Akira’s confidence.
They all give a pep talk to Akira when he returns from his walk.
Ramsay initiates the free installation of a new freezer, refrigeration units, fryers and a hob burner.
The décor gets the much-needed revamp with Sammy’s commendable effort. Even the menu gets some new appealing additions.
Akira is over the moon! He is all set to don the chef’s apron on the night of relaunch.
Sadly, Lisa is quite unsupportive and unenthusiastic and is her usual nagging self.
Minor glitches on the orders get corrected and customers seem to be happy with the food.
Sushi Ko opens on the big night of relaunch to the rhythm of taiko drums.
Akira starts with remarkable enthusiasm, but soon loses focus.
He however returns to his task of cooking following cautionary words from Ramsay.
As Gordon Ramsay leaves, things seem to be looking up for the restaurant, along with Akira and his family.
So was the Kitchen Nightmares Sushi Ko visit a success? Keep reading our update to learn what happened next and if this Thousand Oaks, CA restaurant is still open in 2023 and beyond.
Sushi Ko Update - What Happened Next?
The days that followed the relaunch feature a business that was on its way to sink deep down turning around to proudly stay afloat.
The family basked in the glory of their rediscovered happiness and love.
But alas, the happiness is not meant to last long.
The restaurant began to look deserted once again.
Everything was forcing them to close the business. With a heavy heart and no options left, that family did just that.
Is Sushi Ko still open?
Sushi Ko closed in August, 2009. This was before the Kitchen Nightmares Sushi Ko episode aired on TV, though around 3-4 months after the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay.
This was almost exactly four years after they opened the Sushi Ko Thousand Oaks CA location.
In announcing the closure, Sammy posted a message on his blog:
After four years of being at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks Sushi Ko has shut its doors.
We have all tried so hard from the beginning and put in so much effort but it just never worked out.
We all went from being on such a high and happy with the “new” restaurant and then shortly after got pushed to the bottom.
Somehow business got worse after we filmed it and the center seemed more deserted then it ever has been.
Partly the economy, and partly ________, it was just not looking good.
For a time, the old Sushi Ko Thousand Oaks CA location was occupied by a new deli named Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen.
However, The Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen that followed Sushi Ko did not survive for long, either.
Reviews were bad and it closed soon after taking Sushi Ko’s place.
After that, a restaurant chain called Unami Burger also opened at the old Sushi Ko California location.
However, that didn’t last either! It seems like this is definitely a tough location for a restaurant.
As of 2023, the location is occupied by another restaurant chain called California Pizza Kitchen.
You can see a picture of the old Sushi Ko Thousand Oaks location in the most recent image from Google Maps street view:
Why did Sushi Ko close?
In the post announcing the closure, Sammy put most of the blame for the restaurant’s closure on the economy.
Again, it closed in August 2009, which was right in the middle of the Great Recession.
A lot of businesses had to close their doors at that time, so it’s no surprise that Sushi Ko closed.
What is Akira from Sushi Ko doing now?
After closing Sushi Ko, it seems that Akira is no longer in the restaurant business.
According to his work history, he’s now working as a Purchaser/Exporter at M & D Co, LTD.
More specifically, he’s buying cosmetics in the USA and shipping them to Japan.
Still, having a 25+ year history as a successful restaurant owner ain’t bad!
We hope Akira is enjoying his new business and everything is going well.
Are the Sushi Ko owners still married?
As far as I can tell, the Sushi Ko owners are still married, as Akira Hatae and Lisa Hatae seem to still be together. I hope the couple are doing well.
What happened to Hana from the Sushi Ko Kitchen Nightmares episode?
A lot of people are wondering what happened to Hana after Sushi Ko closed. Hana is Akira’s daughter and part of the family. She seems to still be doing some acting, though not that often.
For example, she was in a 2019 film called The Circuit: Star Crew. She was also on a TV show called The 7th Rule.
Her most famous role is probably Molly O’Brien in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which she starred in as a kid.
Here’s a picture of Hana from Deep Space Nine, which aired from 1993 to 1999.
If you want to learn more, you can check out Hana Hatae’s IMDB page.
What is Lisa from Sushi Ko doing now?
After Sushi Ko closed, Lisas worked as the General Manager at a Denny’s for a year or so. Then, she was a supervisor at Sodexo and was responsible for opening up the “School of Law” cafe at Pepperdine University.
After running the law school cafe, she also ran a coffee cart on Pepperdine’s campus.
If you want to learn more about that part of Lisa Hatae’s life, Pepperdine Graphic Media had a whole interview with her.
As of 2022, Lisa seems to be managing the Dean Creek RV Park Resort in Redway, CA.
Final Thoughts on Sushi Ko
Unfortunately, Sushi Ko did not make it to the Kitchen Nightmares episode air date, closing just a few months after the actual visit from Gordon Ramsay.
After Sushi Ko closed, there were a string of other restaurants in that spot, including a few chains.
Akira and Lisa are both still married as far as I can tell and had some other jobs after the restaurant closed.
Hana Hatae, the daughter, is still working as an actress.
If you want to see some other nearby California Kitchen Nightmares episodes, you can check out Mama Rita’s in Newbury Park, The Secret Garden in Moorpark, or The Greek at the Harbor in Ventura.
The full Kitchen Nightmares update list also has a map of all the restaurants.
What did you think about the Sushi Ko episode of Kitchen Nightmares? I'd love it if you shared your thoughts on the episode in the comments below!
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And don't forget to check out all of the other Kitchen Nightmares updates.
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Last updated: 2023-01-08 05:57
29 thoughts on “Sushi Ko Kitchen Nightmares Update – Still Open in 2023?”
All comments are the sole opinion of the commenter and are not endorsed by RealityTVUpdates.
The Old saying Location, Location, Location means the most, rent is a killer and the leeches that own these buildings are the killer of independent businesses.
This is why all most every major chain owns its own building and property. The slum type lords should be ashamed for what they do.
When you are paying 30 percent or more of your profit to rent it becomes appalling. The slum lords dont give three s*its about the guy trying to make a living.
They only look at how much they are going to make without ever having to put in, or work for it. In the little town I live in the slum lords have so many empty buildings.
They charge such high rent and then expect the business to do all the repairs on the same buildings. Lastly its sad, very said that we have come this far, yet we have gone no where.
This episode is just painful to watch. Some love and support would’ve gone a long way toward boosting his confidence.The man is beaten down on a daily basis.
Sushi pizza should be against the law.
I actually just watched the episode for the first time tonite – twice. It was so emotional and inspiring ( I cried along with them all through the episode -both of the times I watched it on the same night). They clutched my heartstrings so much that (for the first time ever after watching a reality show) I went and googled Hana and was heartborken to find they ended up closing after everything. What a shame! I even had to leave a comment which I never do
I have seen all of the Kitchen Nightmares episodes many times but somehow I have missed this episode all these years. I too cried the whole way through. I was emotionally exhausted after it and have never experienced it. Then I Googled it hoping against hope that they were able to make it. I was devistated to read that they closed even before it aired. I wanted them to make it like I knew them. I do hope that after the show the change in the family remained. I am also sad that there was no update on their son. Just from the few pictures of his that was put up in the restaurant he is incredibly talented. I would love to see more of his work. This family definitely deserve a happy ending for the remainder of their days.
I too was hoping that would get out of the muck they were in. Credit card debt is the utmost worst! What Trump or some president should implement is a 1 year Sanctuary Plan that owners like Akira could initiate. So businesses that can get the help of Gordan Ramsay, or consultants, or new management, etc. can have some leeway. All credit withdrawals rolled back and recalculated to 1% interest accrued, landlords to not interfere by rent increases or intimidation for 1 year. And any leased, rented, or owing on equipment is not to be repossess or non-serviced for 1 year. Hopefully giving small business a better chance to pay back debt and re calibrate themselves. And if after a year, debt is still owing, rent needs to be paid, equipment not paid for – back to the lions they be.
Steven, your comment was rational, well thought out and very true. Your ideas would help a business to succeed.
My heart go out to the family. I feel every pain they go through, particularly to his beautiful daughter and son. Not much to say about the wife, the mom. I’m sure she’s stressed, depressed and frustrated but as her EXACT word, “he doesn’t what to do.” Please love and understand him as a human, a man, a father. I hope you guys find new life destination and happiness. Please know that YOU did all you possibly can. May you be blessed with merit and better brighter opportunities. Sending love and prayers your way🙏💪
I think the entire family was severely depressed.Akiro though was suffering in silence and that is generally harder to deal with than someone who lashes out as his wife did.He was silently torturing himself every second of every day. I would have been worried about him harming himself with the way he was dealing/not dealing with what was going on inside his head and heart.
These restaurants wait to late to reach out for help. Gordon Ramsey does a lot BUT he’s not a miracle worker. At least Sushi Ko is NOT like a LOT of the restaurants he’s attempted to help. Many put ALL THE BLAME on Gordon.
The “leeches that own the land/buildings”, are business people. They don’t owe you low rent, and no one forces you to rent. The greedy people are the ones that think someone owes them something. I feel horrible for the family, but in the end he was a bad business person.
Well said Dana!!
@Dana These blood sucking parasite leeches disguised as landlords, hike the rent a lot for a business when they start making a lot of money. These business also don’t owe these leeches “extra money”. These leeches should ask whatever is the market standard around and not on the basis of how much money their tenants are making.
I hope they sold those top of the line commercial kitchen appliances Chef Ramsay (FOX TV Network?) bought for them, and did not let the building owner confiscate them..big bucks
“they don’t owe you low rent” at what point do we question the ethics of this so-called business. I can almost certainly guarantee you that the owner of said building/land did not earn it by being “good business person” or by “hard work”. Yes, landowners are indeed, for the most part, leeches.
Then DON’T RENT FROM THEM.
Someone struck a nerve, eh? Leech sighted.
Well they al least did something right: their children are wonderful, respectful and also hard workers. I can only admire that and hope my children will be like that when they grow up. Business is just business, stuff happens and in the end it isn’t nearly as important as ones family. Hope they are doing well
To those who call landlords leeches, you obviously don’t have a clue as to how the commercial landlord/tenant business works. Leases are negotiated and agreed upon by both parties before renting the space. Landlords want their tenants to succeed and will often help to make that happen. Most restaurant tenants pay about 7% of their income to rent. That is the norm. Landlords are not leeches. Do you realize how much i have given to my tenants during COVID-19? I personally forgave my restaurant tenant $200,000; allowing him 3 years of minimal rent and future rent reductions. I am trying to keep my tenants in business as I try to keep my own head above water. Your comments about landlords are offensive and not true.
Agreed. Not greed.
I see your point, but economically, landlords ARE leeches. You produce nothing, contribute nothing, and profit off of the work of others. Does it make you a bad person? Of course not! It is a part of the system in which we exist, and you are well within your right to exploit the system. Just as we are equally within our right to call you leeches for it.
I think Hana is doing some acting work. At least she seems to still have an active IMDB page.
Thanks! I’ll add that to the update.
She also does some Star Trek-related stuff online, as she was in Star Trek – Deep Space 9
Christine, it is nice to see you are one of very few that help the small business through a very difficult period, I watched the show and felt for the family and hoped it would work. bought tears to my eyes to see what had happened
Christine is more the rule than the exception. We landlords have nothing to lose and everything to gain by helping our tenants. It’s unfortunate that you have encountered unscrupulous landlords, but it’s not the norm.
I do see news reports now and then about slumlords, but the fact that it is news indicates that it is not the norm. News reports the things going on the are not routine.
Lisa is currently torturing Akira and the tenants of Dean Creek RV park in Redway California.
The only people that ought to stay there are masochists that enjoy her abuse.
What happened to Sammy?
The problem with this restaurant is obvious: it served raw fish. Raw! Gordon always yells at chefs who serve raw food on Hell’s Kitchen. For some reason he went soft on the owners here and did not complain when they confused bait and food fit for human consumption. He should taught Akira how to fry the fish.
“Nate ‘n Al’s” the deli that took over the space, is an upscale deli, and is a mainstay in the heart of Beverly Hills for decades. They likely opened this location in Thousand Oaks because of its location near Bel Air and Agoura Hills. The rent in these locations has always been very high. (Google the Bel Air Hotel and Agoura Hills)
If Nate ‘n Al’s couldn’t show a profit in this location-not to mention California Pizza Kitchen-no small restaurant can, unless they buy the building. Those two restaurants are NOT your typical So. Cal. chain restaurants.