INSIDE LOOK: Ronin Sushi & Sake Bar
Q&A with Owners Tung & Tran Nguyen
By Tiffany Yancey // Photos by Kelsey Walters
Q: You and your husband are now the sole-owners of Ronin Sushi and Sake Bar, but Tung has been working inside the company for years. What is the backstory of how you became the official owners?
A: Tung has always been playing both roles, the head sushi chef and part owner, day in and day out since 2007. Both the managers, Krystina and Aleks, have been playing a vital role to keep Ronin upbeat for years. Ronin Sushi & Sake Bar is known for the food, quality and service. Partnership can be very helpful if the partner has similar interests, the mindset and perspective of how things should be. A lot of times, that is not the case. Being your own boss is always the way to go if the opportunity allows.
Q: Have there been any changes since you took over ownership?
A: Yes! New food items are being added to the menu, including Pho, a Vietnamese beef noodle soup, which is now being offered every Monday night! Any changes we make are to enhance your experience, as our only intentions are to make Ronin Sushi & Sake Bar the place that everyone goes for the best sushi in Daytona Beach.
Q: Have you ever considered opening a new location anytime soon?
A: Certainly not. At least not anytime soon. My wife and I recently purchased the building where Ronin is now. It is a two-story building and our plan is to expand to the upstairs where we will be able to accommodate bigger parties, higher end sushi items and possibly live music.
Q: What roles do you each play within the day-to-day aspects of the restaurant?
A: Tran became more involved with managing the front of the house. Her role is to ensure Ronin Sushi & Sake Bar is exceeding our customers’ expectations, and to maintain positive relationships with the employees. My role is to present each table with the highest quality food in the most presentable way.
Q: How long have you both lived in Volusia County?
A: I immigrated to live in the US in 1992. I have lived in Daytona Beach since then. I worked at a couple Japanese restaurants in town. To name a few, Sapporo, Chi Linh and Takeya are the backbone of my resume. Tran immigrated to live in the US in 2002 and she has lived in Daytona Beach since. She completed her doctorate in pharmacy in 2017. She pursues her career in pharmacy at Halifax Health Medical Center Inpatient Pharmacy. Ironically, Tran and I met at Takeya (used to be on Nova Road) when I was working as the head sushi chef in 2006. She became my soulmate and we have three wonderful children together.
Q: What sets you apart from other sushi restaurants in town?
A: At Ronin Sushi & Sake Bar, we are known for our variety of food, quality and service.
Q: What is your most popular dish?
A: I’d say the Kobe Roll (pictured below) has made its way to become the most popular dish here.
Q: What is your most unique dish?
A: That would be the Cucumber Wrapped Sashimi, which is a new addition to our menu.
Q: What selection of Tataki dishes do you have and how is it prepared?
A: We have Kobe, Tuna and Escolar. They are cut into easy to enjoy slices that melt in your mouth. Each dish is served with a specialty sauce.
Q: What weekly specials are you currently running?
A: Monday through Thursday Happy Hour is from 5 – 7 p.m. with 2-4-2 house wines, beers and house sake. Monday’s Pho night and $5 Dynamite Chicken or Shrimp. Customer Appreciation nights are every Sunday and Wednesday where we offer $5 select sushi rolls all night long.
Q: Is your venue available for parties and/or events?
A: Yes, our venue is available for private parties and/or events before the normal operational business hours. Our space is suitable for hosting luncheons, birthdays, graduation parties, bridal and baby showers, or bachelorette parties. We would love for you to book your next special event with us.
Q: When you’re not in the kitchen, what are you doing?
A: We like to attend business events where local business owners are brought together. Our goal is to keep each other informed about our city and what needs to be done to help us grow. Tran and I are family-oriented individuals. We try to spend as much time with our children, going on family picnics and short trips when time allows.
Ronin Sushi and Sake Bar
Tung & Tran Nguyen
111 W. International Blvd. Daytona Beach 32114
Tiffany Yancey is the editor and one of the owners of East Coast Current magazine. She graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2005 with a degree in Communication in the Mass Media. In 2014 she was recognized by Editor & Publisher Magazine as one of the “25 Under 35” innovators in the newspaper industry. In 2016 she was elected to the Board of Directors for the Southeast Volusia Chamber of Commerce. @eccprint