Former Toronto restaurant worker's lockdown project keeps selling out
For one Scarborough-based person, it means continually selling out.
Albert De La Cruz is behind Albi Sushi, a sushi project started up in 2021 that you might have seen popping up at fairs and food festivals, but that's also available for preordered pickup and delivery. He also does events, catering and "sushi meet-ups."
"When the pandemic hit, the restaurant businesses were all affected," De La Cruz tells blogTO. "I stayed home with my wife and two very young children."
The menu goes a little outside the box with options like fried rolls ($10) and sushi tacos ($9), and toppings like eel sauce taro curls, mango salsa and turmeric almonds.
"Ingredients are all handpicked. All sauces are my creation, and are homemade," says De La Cruz. "They are a fusion of all the knowledge and experience I have gained after 19 years making sushi, traditional and modern."
There are also poke bowls starting at $10, and sushi platters starting at $40.
"At first I was just trying it out to see if other people liked my sushi. We were doing this from home with friends and family, and word-of-mouth quickly spread," says De La Cruz.
"People were happy to eat good food and try something new again and they were happy to shop local and support small businesses. Restaurants were still closed, just open for takeout."
His sushi has been especially popular in downtown Toronto at events and festivals. At Smorgasburg he sold out of his two items within a couple hours, selling out and having to take breaks three times on their first day.
"We kept sending our uncle out to buy more supplies. It was a family effort," says De La Cruz.
"On regular days, when people order from us directly, we ask them for at least two days notice so that I can book a commercial kitchen, order from my supplier and do grocery shopping. I only make as much as needed, so as not to waste."
You can order Albi Sushi via Instagram, Facebook, email or by calling or texting 647.299.3500, and De La Cruz has aspirations to get his own commercial kitchen in the hopes of focusing even more on festivals and events. Just remember, the sooner you order in advance the better!
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