Keith Dusko, Chiba owner and New Jersey native, first visited Oak Street 20 years ago. After going to The Maple Leaf Bar, he knew then that Oak Street had a good vibe that suited him. Now, he is a member of a community that continues to make people feel at home and has welcomed him and his staff since opening in February. Fellow merchants were supportive from day one, acting as eager customers who wanted to have their orders in first. Keith believes that a facility and the flow of its surroundings should match. The people of this area certainly contribute to the pace and ultimate success of his venture. So far, business has been great and most of his patrons have been locals that are hungry for a new sushi experience.
Keith named Chiba after the Japanese hometown of a family friend/chef who has helped him over the years. He built Chiba for New Orleanians and has paid tribute to them by creating traditional sushi with a taste of The Big Easy. The restaurant’s design is a contemporary and refreshing contrast of materials including dark bamboo and reclaimed St. Joe bricks. He also wanted to bring his own personal, clutter-free style into the space and provide visitors with a different interpretation of Asian dining in New Orleans. The look and feel of Chiba were clear from the beginning and he endured a 2-year long design and build process for the previously vacant facility. After regularly traveling back and forth from New Jersey to New Orleans, he now lives in the Uptown area and enjoys its conveniences.
When asked why he chose to place his business on Oak Street, Keith responded, “Oak Street chose me.” He searched in other areas of the city, including the Marigny and Magazine Street. Due to several factors and his own specific requirements he, thankfully, landed in our thriving Uptown neighborhood.
Oak Street now has two sushi restaurants to chose from, each providing their own unique experience. Chiba certainly offers a great atmosphere with knowledgeable, friendly staff and menu options for everyone. Chiba has recently extended its hours to accommodate late night music goers of The Maple Leaf. My boyfriend and I were able to check out the happy hour menu, which includes my new favorite: panko oyster steamed buns! This menu is very reasonable, catering to anyone who is looking for some cold sake and a fresh roll on a hot NOLA evening (the Let the Good Times Roll rocks!). The next time you are on Oak St, put Chiba on your list of places to stop in!
Chiba is located at 8312 Oak St, between Dante and Cambronne. Visit Chiba’s website for their full menu and hours.