– About the Restaurant –
Origami restaurant is a staple when it comes to Sushi in the Twin Cities. We have happily served our guests who are experiencing sushi for the first time as well as our devoted “regulars” of over 26 years. With only a handful of existing sushi restaurants in the surrounding areas at the time of opening, Origami continues to provide authenticity and quality to the now competitive and popular art of Japanese cuisine.
In 1990, Owner and master sushi chef, Kiminobu “Ichi” Ichikawa, formed a limited partnership with Del Francis and Tatsuya Saji in an effort to introduce a modern Japanese restaurant to an eager and sushi-hungry Minneapolis. With the help of good friend and general contractor, Dan Bartel, Origami opened its doors on November 19, 1990 with a staff of 13 people, including head chef, Yutaka “Steve” Kanda.
Ichi has opened and operated 3 locations in total; spanning from Downtown to Minnetonka, and back to Uptown. He continues to pass down the well-respected sushi techniques to many highly skilled chefs and thrives on sharing his appreciation of delicately prepared sushi morsels. We believe in providing top quality service, knowledgeable staff and a menu that caters to the traditional, adventurous or beginner’s taste buds. We’re honored to have been awarded with the “Best Of”, “Reader’s Choice” and listed in the “Top 10” Japanese/sushi restaurants since 1990.
– Origami Uptown –
Just a block from Calhoun Square, Origami Uptown is nestled between the Lagoon Cinema and the Uptown Tavern in the Mosaic Building off of Lagoon Avenue.
With Uptown’s fast growing population and the thirst for nightlife, Ichi aspired to bring that energy inside the walls of the restaurant through design. With the help of a Minneapolis interior design firm, Smart Associates, this vision came to life with modern interior details of cascading beams that resemble chopsticks, a bar-centric atmosphere and a mural of Japanese motifs painted by local artist, Yuya Negishi, line the colorful walls. Though there was intent for a lively interior, it was important for the restaurant to maintain its modest charm with small groupings of tables, a private mezzanine, intimate sushi bar and in summer months, a shaded patio that’s tucked away from busy street traffic.
You’ll find much of our well known dishes as well as a rotating specials menu, extensive sake and Japanese whiskey selection and a happy hour menu that can’t be beat. This location has become a favored sushi spot in the uptown area amongst the surrounding restaurants.
– Origami Downtown –
The original Origami restaurant was located in the heart of the warehouse district in Downtown Minneapolis. The historic building that stands on the corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue is known as the Market Hotel. The two-story structure was built in 1867 by John Heinrich, architect and owner of the property. It originally housed a meat market and eventually converted into a lodging house which was then coined as the “Market Hotel” and functioned as a hotel until the late 1960’s.
Three years after opening the restaurant, the popularity of Origami provided Ichi with the opportunity to take on the business as an independent owner in 1993. As Origami’s recognition and revenue grew, Ichi bought the entire Market Hotel Building in 1995. This allowed him to expand the restaurant to the second floor, adding a new cocktail bar, lounge and an additional dining space in May, 1997. By maintaining the original exposed brick, winding staircase and adding casual interior finishes, Origami became a favorite to local foodies and restaurant columnists as well as out-of-towners seeking Japanese fare.
December 2015 was a bitter-sweet send off to the restaurant’s closing. Though this location continued to thrive for over two decades, the decision was made to close the doors on a high note. With the ever-evolving North Loop, it was the right time for the Market Hotel to become the home of new residence.
Ichi, the management team, and all of the chefs and employees would like to thank everyone for their unbelievable patronage and loyalty.
– Origami West –
Ichi brought the experience to Minnetonka in 2004 opening at Ridgedale Mall with his second location. With an exciting new vibe and well appreciated menu, Origami quickly became a hotspot for the Minneapolis suburbs. As the lease ended in Minnetonka, Origami packed up and moved back to the city in the Uptown neighborhood.