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Gourmet Japanese Bento Concept Headed for Bankers Hill

Quick-service bento boxes are coming.

After six years in Bankers Hill, the owners of Azuki Sushi are planning to add another style of Japanese food to the neighborhood. And no, it's not ramen.

They're taking over the Gourmet On 5th cafe at the corner of 5th and Laurel (2505 5th Ave.) for a new quick-service eatery called Artisan Bentō; Shihomi Borillo, food stylist and managing partner of Azuki Sushi shared that "We chose Banker’s Hill as the location for Artisan Bentō because of the highly dynamic and diverse neighborhood. This area is comprised of families and residents who desire unique, fresh, and healthy food. We are very much looking forward to introducing another spectrum of Japanese cuisines beyond sushi."

Set to open in early December, the restaurant will seat 20 in the dining room and 12 more on a front patio. Artisan Bentō will center around customizable bentōs that hold a variety of proteins, carbs, sides, and desserts all in one box.

Borillo says that their menu will feature "Japanese tradition updated with West Coast sensibilities", highlighting "local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients of San Diego prepared with traditional techniques of Japan".

Protein options include miso and mirin-cured salmon, Wagyu meatballs with young ginger and a tofu veggie burger with yuzu aioli; carbs and sides range from onigiri rice balls to persimmon and kale with sesame ponzu and roasted parsnip miso soup and desserts include black sesame panna cotta with crispy rice puffs.