(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.
In this episode, Gordon Ramsay heads to Sushi Ko in Thousand Oaks, California.
If you’re not familiar with California geography, Thousand Oaks is part of the greater Los Angeles area, located to the northwest of the downtown area (past Malibu).
Sushi Ko is owned by Chef Akira and his wife Lisa.
We also meet the couple’s children in the episode – Hana and Sammy.
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.
This drop-off in business is why they asked for help from Gordon Ramsay.
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.
Unfortunately, that’s just one issue of many.
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.
Nobody wants room temperature mayonnaise!
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 Sushi Ko 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, which seems to drag him down a bit.
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 restaurant visit a long-term success?
Keep reading my update to learn what happened next and if this Thousand Oaks, CA restaurant is still open in 2024 and beyond.
Sushi Ko Update - What Happened Next?
Now that we’ve recapped the Sushi Ko episode, let’s talk about what happened to the restaurant after Gordon and his crew left the building.
Immediately after the relaunch, things seemed to be going well for the restaurant.
The family also seemed much happier.
But alas, the happiness is not meant to last long.
The restaurant began to look deserted once again.
Sadly, this led to the predictable result…
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!
I hope Akira is enjoying his new business and everything is going well.
As of 2023, I’m not sure if he’s still working in import/export, as the couple seems to have moved to Redway CA.
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 and I wish the family well in general.
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.
Sometime around, 2022, Lisa seems to have started managing the Dean Creek RV Park Resort in Redway, CA.
As of late 2023, she seems to still be there are she posts a lot of beautiful pictures of Redway and Humboldt county on her Facebook page.
I wish the best to Lisa and the rest of the Hatae family.
It seems like they’ve found a very peaceful living situation after the difficulties with having to close the Sushi Ko restaurant.
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.
As of 2023, they seem to live a comfortable life in a beautiful area in Redway, CA.
Hana Hatae, the daughter, is still working as an actress.
That wraps up my Sushi Ko Kitchen Nightmares update.
The full Kitchen Nightmares update list also has a map of all the restaurants.
And if you want to share your thoughts on the episode, you can do so using the comments section below.
As always – thanks for reading!
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Last updated: 2023-12-24 08:49