The sound of sushi will soon hit the west coast of Florida.
Rock N Roll Sushi, a brand founded in Mobile, Alabama, in 2010, recently signed a 35-location agreement with a group of entrepreneurs for markets across Central and Southwest Florida, in addition to some on the east coast of the state. The first locations are expected to debut in Tampa and Naples later this year, where a real estate search is underway, according to a statement.
The deal, an area representative agreement, is with an entity called Rock N Development, under owners Andrew and Terri Jessen, Craig and Dianne LeMieux and John and Katerina Weissfisch. Rock N Development’s ARA spreads from West Palm Beach to the Daytona Beach and Orlando areas, and across to Tampa, Fort Myers and Naples. The partners have a personal connection to each of the locales, the release states, having lived or worked in those areas in the past. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
Rock N Roll Sushi, says CEO Chris Kramolis in the release, “offers a one-of-a-kind dining environment with multiple TVs playing music videos and sushi rolls are Rock N Roll-themed.” The menu is broken down by Opening Acts, Classics, Green Room, Headliners (with Raw Tracks), Back Stage Hibachi, Kids Rock and After Party, with Rock N Roll Sushi’s greatest hits – like Crispy Wontons, Punk Rock Roll, VIP Roll and Hibachi.
Rock N Roll Sushi has multiple locations in Florida, including one in Gainesville, one in Tallahassee and several in the Panhandle.
“We’ve wanted to grow our footprint within the great state of Florida for some time and feel we’ve found the ideal partners to do just that,” adds Kramolis in the release. “Each of them has succeeded before as multi-unit franchisees and they know the markets we’re entering first-hand.”
The development portion of the 35-location ARA, according to the company, will include seeking other franchisees to open their own locations. “We believe in the brand and everything about it, so we’re excited to help expand Rock N Roll Sushi across Florida with future franchisees,” Weissfisch says in the statement.
Weissfisch is a former auto industry executive with experience as a multi-unit restaurant owner and operator of Tropical Smoothie Café and Island Wing Co. The LeMieuxs are former co-owners of 15 Tropical Smoothie Cafes in multiple states and served as area developers for the brand, overseeing more than 140 locations, the release states. And the Jessens, residents of Naples, are former corporate executives who turned to franchising upon moving to Florida almost 20 years ago. They connected with Weissfisch and the LeMieuxs through Tropical Smoothie Café, twice winning the brand’s Area Developer of the Year award. The Jessens and LeMieuxs also own Rock N Roll Sushi locations in Arizona, the release states.
“This is a fun, laid-back concept that appeals to all walks of life, so we know we have a hit on our hands as we expand in Florida,” Jessen says in the release. “Terri and I are very excited to team up with seasoned and successful area developers like the LeMieuxs and seasoned full-service restaurant operators like the Weissfischs to build out the Rock N Roll Sushi brand here with other franchisees who share our passion for great sushi, hibachi and hospitality.”
Rock N Roll Sushi debuted in a 1,000-square-foot space inside the Mobile Mall in Alabama, and has since grown to some 60 locations in the Southeast, with more locations pending in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. The company says the concept “boasts flavors that are big, bold and loud (and) Rock N Roll Sushi is the only place to experience the rock music you love and the rolls you love with the ones you love.”