Sushi hand rolls have been a growing national trend, popular across the US for their efficient presentation and focus on quality ingredients. In an article previewing the opening of Hando, Eater Houston even suggested hand rolls are the new poke earlier in the year, giving a glimpse at this sushi trend’s potential for mass appeal, and Forbes declared them the country’s hottest lunch trend in mid-2018.
With a fall 2019 opening slated, Hando has already received plenty of attention from local press outlets, driving up anticipation for the forthcoming venture. Eater Houston, Houstonia Magazine, and CultureMap Houston all covered the restaurant’s announcement, promising updates and future coverage as more is revealed. No doubt the local Houston owners, Andaya and Chan, are part of the appealing story, and Chan’s existing Houston venture — East End Hardware, a bar located in an old hardware store in Houston’s up-and-coming East Downtown area — has increased the profile of this opening too.
Hando will be a new kind of neighborhood restaurant for the area, novel in its cuisine, as well as its approachable and affordable take on sushi hand rolls. Its first come, first served seating model will make it a uniquely hot ticket in an area of the city known for exceptional eateries, and Hando’s tightly curated menu and efficient service model will ensure it is as cost-effective as possible.
In order to preserve their ability to afford the highest quality ingredients, Hando is being run with the mentality of being a temple of efficiency. The team plans to realize cost savings by implementing operational procedures garnered from past business experience.
- Keeping a lean selection of hand roll menu offerings to ensure little wastage
- Linking the host stand to the kitchen for efficient pick-up and to-go orders
- Exclusive bar counter seating to reduce staffing costs
Open for both lunch and dinner seven days a week, Hando’s primary revenue will come from its food sales.
- Average lunch bills are estimated at $15 per person, and $20 average for dinner
- Alcoholic beverage sales are estimated to make up 30% of the total revenue
- Pick-up and to-go offerings will include cut hand rolls and small plate items
Hando’s Temaki, or sushi hand rolls composed of roasted seaweed, warm rice, and a protein, will be available to purchase either individually a la carte or coursed in flights of 3, 4, or 5 rolls. Some of the standout proteins include salmon, scallop, crab, and tuna, as well as vegetarian options like beets and mushrooms. Additional menu items, such as fried rice and shishito peppers, will also be available. All menu items will have a focus on seasonality, rotating as products and ingredients become available, and will use fresh ingredients that are sourced locally as much as possible.
The full bar will feature Japanese spirits, sake, and beers. Sake will be available both hot and cold, filtered and unfiltered, and there will be house specialty cocktails using mostly Japanese spirits. Non-alcoholic options, such as green tea, sodas, and house mocktails, will also be available.
Designed by local Houston architecture firm, JT ARC Studio, Hando’s dining room in The Heights will be a naturally lit and airy environment centered around the main seating area: the bar. With all of the available seats located around the chef’s preparation area, guests can watch every hand roll being made right in front of them. With only the bar as a barrier between guest and chef in this small space, there will be natural energy and plenty of organic conversation to make the 1,200 square foot space both intimate and organized.
Jason Andaya, a UH and Rice graduate, wanted to return to his hometown after building a successful career in California and contribute to the fabric of Houston's fantastic food scene.
- Spent four of the past five years working in Los Angeles, one of the largest markets for emerging food and entertainment trends
- Managed food and beverage and sales for Marriott in the Seattle market and opened FOH and Rock & Reilly’s DTLA in Los Angeles
Raymond Chan, Andaya’s childhood friend and business partner in Hando, is the owner of East End Hardware, an East Downtown Houston bar.
- Transformed a 1950’s tool shop into a neighborhood bar known for its boozy snow cones, recycling many of the original features from the shop into architectural elements for the social space
- Former owner of Bar Munich, a popular Bavarian-themed sports bar in Midtown