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Rock N Roll Sushi aims to open week of Jan. 20

Rock N Roll Sushi, in southwest Cullman’s Marktplatz Center, hopes to be open the week of Jan. 20. The restaurant’s interior features hand-painted murals by local artist Seth Miller. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN -  Cullman’s Rock N Roll Sushi is nearing its much-anticipated opening. Friday, The Tribune sat down with co-owners Lee and Brooke Black and general manager Kelsey Moore for an update.

Although a definite date has not been set, Lee Black said, “We should be open the week of the 20th for a soft opening, with a grand opening a week or so later.”

The restaurant is waiting on its final building inspection on Tuesday, Jan. 15 and the arrival of the food, and the Blacks said they encountered a few setbacks since announcing Rock N Roll was coming to Cullman back in May 2018.

Shared Lee Black, “Finding a contractor after the hailstorm was difficult. They were all busy. Then, turning a bank into a restaurant was a challenge.”

Brooke Black added, “It’s not like we took an old restaurant and just ramped it up. We almost rebuilt from the ground up.”

The Blacks looked at other locations in Cullman and said they might be open already had they chosen a different location, but the site they selected at 1900 Marktplatz Center (in the unit formerly home to First Community Bank) has many future benefits.

“Rock N Roll Sushi, they really like to go into strip centers where other stuff is around,” said Lee Black.

With shopping, the move theater and so many businesses nearby, they hope to attract people out shopping, for dinner and a movie, and a robust lunch crowd. 

Despite the name, the menu has something for everyone. Moore addressed concerns non-sushi-loving folks might have, saying, ”We’ve got a lot of introductory sushi rolls that are fully cooked that would cater to people who are unsure about whether or not they would enjoy eating raw fish of might be opposed to it. We also have an entire portion of the menu that is hibachi-style. On our grill, we could use filet mignon, lobster, shrimp, chicken, fried rice and vegetables. Additionally, we have a vast amount of appetizers to cook that people are usually familiar with like cooked shrimp, egg rolls, crispy fried wontons or jalapeño poppers. What Rock N Roll does is it takes something that could be streamlined and basic and just makes it better! We’ve got a sushi roll with filet mignon on it, shrimp, and a little bit of spicy tuna. So, that’s a good introductory sushi.”

Rock N Roll Sushi also offers a full-service bar with its signature Rocktails, classic cocktails, wine options and draft beer, including a rotation of Goat Island beers, as well as bottled and canned beer.

Moore added, “We will introduce Japanese beers and sake options that really pair well with our food and that you don’t find at other places.”

The Rock N Roll Sushi atmosphere is also unique and will appeal to those who enjoy great music. Big screens play classic rock videos and the walls display rock memorabilia, giant posters of music legends and hand-painted murals by local artist Seth Miller. What once was the bank’s drive-thru is now a heated patio which will provide additional seating and possibly live music in the near future. The patio is a feature the owners will “ease into” once the restaurant is open.

Several of the staff have worked for other Rock N Roll Sushi locations. Moore, who is from Hanceville, has many years of restaurant experience and said she loves Rock N Roll Sushi and its commitment to offering a great customer experience. The staff of 21 employees has been working and training at existing locations to prepare for the Cullman opening. 

Dine-in and carry-out will be available, but Rock N Roll Sushi has not partnered with a delivery service.

Said Moore, “That is an option we will explore maybe 90 days after we open. We don’t want someone’s first Rock N Roll Sushi experience to be through a delivery service and something be wrong or late.”

Local connection

Rock N Roll Sushi has many local ties. Lee and Brooke Black of Holly Pond and Keith and Tina Al-Dijaili of Cullman all own the new Cullman location. Cullman native Joe Ragsdale owns the franchise group. Rock N Roll Sushi was founded in Mobile in 2010 by Lance Hallmark and Gerri Mach-Hallmark.

Rock N Roll Sushi will be open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. For updates and announcements, visit www.facebook.com/Rock-N-Roll-Sushi-Cullman-214560639137943/.

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  • Rock N Roll Sushi, in southwest Cullman’s Marktplatz Center, hopes to be open the week of Jan. 20. The restaurant’s interior features hand-painted murals by local artist Seth Miller. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)
  • Courtesy of Rock N Roll Sushi Cullman