First Look: Sarku Japan

Though it’s part of the familiar food court quick-service chain, Sarku Japan in Milton is the only free-standing franchise in Georgia. Dan Ketmayura and James Kim, Atlanta natives and Georgia Tech grads, partnered to create the peppy fast casual version of the teriyaki and sushi restaurant.

The look: Located next to a Radio Shack in a small strip center, Sarku shows a generic brick facade to the traffic on busy Windward Parkway. Inside, though, bright orange walls, huge color photos of menu items and contemporary tables and chairs create a lively, pop art-like look.

The scene: Sarku seems to be a hit with young, budget-conscious diners. On a recent afternoon, workers from nearby Alpharetta businesses and moms with small children queued up at the order counter. In the open kitchen, crews were hustling at the sizzling teppanyaki-style grills and sushi stations.

The menu: Chicken teriyaki ($5.69), served in hefty portions with steamed white or brown rice or noodles, is the menu favorite. But there’s also beef, shrimp or tofu teriyaki and shrimp and veggie tempura. Order edamame, miso soup, seaweed salad, dumplings or spring rolls on the side. Bento boxes ($7.09-$9.99) include a four-piece California roll and a choice of protein and rice or noodles.

The drinks: For refreshment, there’s bottled water, flavored iced tea and hot green tea. But the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine offers a lot of beverage entertainment value for less than two bucks. Use the nifty touch screen to mix and match 106 different offerings, from Barq’s root beer to Fanta Zero and Raspberry Coke.

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The extras: Refugees from the tech business, Ketmayura and Kim have taken an idealistic approach to their entrepreneurial venture, giving 10 percent of their profits to charitable causes that help build water wells and fund orphanages in third-world countries.

Dining out

Sarku Japan

11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Salads and sides, 99 cents-$3.99; sushi, $3.99-$7.99; teriyaki, $5.29-$6.69; bento boxes, $7.09-$9.99. 5304 Windward Parkway, Suite A-102, Milton. 770-667-6515, sarkujapan.com.

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