Sam's Sushi Bar In Downtown Nashville Closes Its Doors

Sam's Sushi Bar In Downtown Nashville Closes Its Doors

CREATED Apr 30, 2014

by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A downtown Nashville dining institution has closed its doors, after being in business for more than a decade. Sam's Sushi Bar was know for its food and the owner's attitude.

Wednesday a sign that read "Good-by. No more sushi for you Sam 4/30/2014" hung on the door of the Church Street business.

"That's why I had to take a picture of this sign, it's so Sam," Jenni Lee Shelton said. She lives across the street from the Printers Alley sushi bar.

Shelton said Sam's was a popular spot for a couple of reasons.

"Really amazing sushi and his ridiculously cheap prices," Shelton explained.

Sam's Sushi Bar was located in the back corner of Noel Place for 15 years. It was the last business to vacate as it is transitioned into a hotel.

"I come by this all the time, it not being here, it's going to be super sad," explained Rob Turner, who works and lives downtown.

Everyone who stopped by the store Wednesday raved about Sam's inexpensive, quality, sushi, but they also talked about owner Same Katakura and his legendary demeanor.

"You never asked Sam how he was doing, it was never a pleasant response," Turner explained. "You had to do your order a certain way. You wrote it on the check, you put it under one of the quarters that Sam had on top of it, and you didn't say anything."

Turner explained even if you ordered your sushi properly, you still might not get what you wanted for lunch or dinner.

"If you wanted shrimp, and he wanted you to have tuna, you were going to have tuna. If you wanted smelt, and he wanted you to have roe, you would have it and like it.," Turner said.

Katakura's attitude earned him the nickname "The Sushi Nazi" after the iconic character "The Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld.

Even with Katakura's abrasive attitude, customers loved him and the way he did business.

"If you were lucky you could hang out with same when they weren't busy and get a lot of personal insight and wisdom and stories," Shelton said.

She did not get a chance to say good-bye to the man she considered a friend, but Shelton wanted him to know he would be missed in Nashville.

Katakura told customers he has plans to return to Japan.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com