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Tona Sushi Celebrating 10 Years of the Best Sushi In Town!

23 January 2014
Written by  Kristin Guthrie
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Painted a bright green with a catchy name, Tona Sushi on 25th street is the delicious dream of Tony Chen.

While in San Francisco, he worked as a designer in an architectural firm and kept a part time position in a Japanese restaurant. Tony found through this experience that his true desire was in cooking. He had always loved and missed the mountains surrounding Ogden, and saw the market for a Japanese cuisine restaurant. He dreamed of using his skills to bring surprises and unique dining choices to the area.

With the support of his wife Tina Yu, a graduate from San Francisco State University, Tona Sushi Bar and Grill opened its doors on March 29, 2004. Almost 10 years later, they are one of Ogden's finest dining choices and winners of countless awards and praise. Tona serves up high quality Japanese cuisine, and pleases the palates of Ogden and beyond. Tona provides a big city taste in a friendly and relaxed setting. Chef Tony Chen’s creative cooking, fresh options, specials, and unique style makes Tona a local favorite. The name Tona is a combination of both Tony and Tina. When Tony and Tina are not in the restaurant, they are enjoying fine dining, snowboarding at Ogden's own Snowbasin Ski Resort, and watching cooking shows, especially Iron Chef. Tona will be celebrating their tenth anniversary this March.

More than just a great restaurant, Tona regularly gives back to the community they love. For the past four years, Tona has been one of the key restaurants participating in Northern Utah's Red Cross Autumn Gourmet Gala, one of The Red Cross's biggest fundraiser events of the year. They've been some of the community’s biggest supporters of local events such as Witchstock, the Harvest Moon Festival, and Worldwide on H25. Tina has also worked in the community, acting as a volunteer board member (treasurer) for the past four years for the Historic 25th Street Business Association.

They regularly open the kitchen to local students, teaching the youth of Ogden not only about the workings of a successful restaurant, but also more about the Japanese culture. Tona has hosted groups from Venture academy and the cooking class of Bonneville High School.

Tona is renowned in the community for having some of the best service in town. They provide many forms of recognition to encourage their employees to rise above the call of duty. Through ongoing training and regular meetings, they are always striving for better customer service. Mini cooking competitions and employee appreciation parties are regular practices at Tona.

I interviewed Tina and Tony recently, here are some highlights:

What inspires your dishes and flavors?
I am inspired by Japanese foods, especially progressive cuisine. I like using traditional methods with new flavors, and different ingredients than would be expected. We are sourcing more and more local fruits, and sustainable vegetables. Our fish is sustainable and flown in from Hawaii and the West Coast.

Do you have any favorite moments?
In all the years there have been many moments… sad, happy, hard… what sticks out to me is we have had quite a few proposals. It makes us happy to know people choose us as the place to have their anniversary, or happy moments. We also love to know that the customer is happy and satisfied- when they come and tell the chef how happy they are; that is the best moment.

What would you like people to know about Sushi?
Sushi doesn’t mean “raw fish”; Sushi = vinegar and rice. Using the traditional concepts and techniques with new flavors is my passion.

What are three things readers might like to know about you?
- We love to snowboard and go every chance we get (as mentioned above- their favorite spot is Snowbasin!)
- We are foodies and love to dine out at local restaurants, we enjoy every cuisine – and the uniqueness all styles of cuisine have.
- Tony’s favorite type of food to cook? Japanese! But he likes to be creative, open minded, and let the ingredients shine. He enjoys food that is subtle, not overwhelming- and enjoys using local sustainable ingredients in his food.

Even if you are not a fan of fish, Tona has something for you. My husband and I tend towards the Nigiri, Sashimi, and rolls, while my children share an order of the beef teriyaki. The “Rice Tots” are a hit with kids of all ages (even kids MY age!). Tona Bento boxes are generous and delicious, Udon bowls are a wonderful treat, and with a tapas menu a page long- you are guaranteed to find something delicious to dine on at Tona. Tony takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients and the specials board reflects currently in season delicacies. Tona also features an amazing “Secret Menu” with unique combinations and delectable rolls. Try the Bonzai, the Dragon, and the Green Globe.

Tona has been the recipient of many different forms of recognition and awards in the local community. Some of them include Best of State, May 2013, for Best Sushi & Indie Ogden Awards, December 2012 and December 2013: for Best Sushi & Best Date Night Restaurant.

Tona Sushi is regularly spotlighted in the local media, including an episode of Train City Eats, several live segments with Casey Scott of Channel 2, Segments on the local morning show KUTV, and Tona was most recently a featured restaurant on KABC LA, Eye on LA “Winter Getaway” Special. Tona has also been featured in many national publications including AAA Via Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Frommer’s Online, and was recently featured in a Boston Globe Article, Ski Magazine’s Top 10 Best Ski-Town Sushi Restaurants.

Co-owner Tina Yu was recently featured in the national magazine Where Woman Create Business Winter 2013 issue, and in 2014 Tona was chosen as the venue and host for a dinner with 25 Taiwanese business executives, in an effort to promote Ogden as a winter playground and ideal location to open offices and do business. Along with Mayor Mike Caldwell, they were treated to a delicious meal and shown the sights of the Ogden area, leading up to the Interbike Outdoor Demo. This economic partnership could bring thousands of jobs to Northern Utah.

On March 29th, Tona will be celebrating their 10th anniversary. Details are to come soon, so keep an eye on Only in Ogdens calendar for more information.

210 Historic 25th Street

Tue – Thu: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm dinner: 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Fri – Sat: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm dinner: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm


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