Jimmy Ishii is a Chef/Owner of four Sekisui restaurants and Sekisui Pacific Rim and Sushi Bistro in Memphis. He is also an investor in two other Memphis restaurants, Mlange in the Cooper-Young neighborhood, and Bari, in the Overton Square area. Ishii has opened Sekisui restaurants in Little Rock, Chattanooga, Charlotte, and St. Louis and has acted as a consultant to Sushi-Koji, in Greenville, SC. He is a stockholder in Ichiban Japanese Restaurant, in Nashville and Sekisui International Travel in Memphis. Ishii is also a major stockholder in Excel, Inc., the Alabama-based producer of shell seeds for the cultured pearl industry in Japan.
The epitome of ", The American Dream--", hard work equals success, Ishii has never been shy when it comes to hard work and his good business sense coupled with his drive to succeed have produced positive results in many areas.
Ishii, age 44, was born in Kofu, Japan, near Tokyo. In 1978, he came to the United States to attend St. Louis University. While still a student, he took at job at Robata of Japan, a Japanese grill restaurant and sister company of the popular Benihana of Tokyo, where patrons can watch their food being cooked at the table. After 2 years at Robata, in St. Louis, management asked Ishii to join their Benihana of Tokyo branch in Memphis. And, it was in Memphis, in 1982, that Ishii made the decision to start his own business-- bringing Japanese food and style to America. Ishii knew that his hands-on chef experience plus natural knowledge of Japanese food and spirits could be fashioned into a restaurant concept Memphians would love.