Dec. 13, 2023 Update: Rock N Roll Sushi’s new location in North Little Rock will be opening on Friday, Dec. 15!

 

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North Little Rock can join in singing “I love Rock N Roll Sushi.” A new location is slated for the former Poke Hula site in Lakewood Village. Co-owner Jason Alley said the franchise has been tuned in on North Little Rock for some time.

 

“We’ve been eyeing the North Little Rock area since we brought Rock N Roll Sushi to Arkansas,” he said. “It’s always been an area we wanted to explore, and it just so happens that the space that’s becoming available kind of fitted our footprint, so we kind of jumped on trying to get a lease done.”

 

Lakewood Village has long been a destination for shopping and dining, and Alley said the area is experiencing a resurgence thanks to new businesses and restaurants. 

 

“That’s what was attractive to us was simply that they’ve got a lot of big brands with Crumbl Cookies, Firehouse Subs and some of the other big nationwide brands,” he said.

 

This will be the fifth Rock N Roll Sushi in Arkansas, which has locations in Conway, Benton and Little Rock’s SoMa and Chenal areas. 

 

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“It’s been tremendous. We operate some of the top stores in the country,” Alley said. “People seem to love it. Sales continue to grow, and of course, we continue to grow locations, so it’s all heading in the right direction.”

 

The North Little Rock location should open in November or December, he said, adding that demolition will begin next week and construction will take 60 to 90 days. Because the building already housed a restaurant, the construction will be moderate and include mostly front-of-the-house cosmetic work, he said.

 

At about 1,500 square feet, the North Little Rock restaurant will be slightly smaller than the others, Alley said. The location will not have a full bar, but it will serve beer, wine and sake, he added. Like the other locations, the new eatery will have a rocking vibe complete with speakers, music and TVs.

 

“This is going to be a little bit of a smaller location than we’re typically used to, but it still looks and feels just like a Rock N Roll Sushi,” he said. “We’re excited to be there. We think it’s going to be a great location for delivery and pickup. That’s one of the reasons that we went with a smaller location.”

 

Delivery and to-go orders comprise about 35% to 40% of the business, he added.

 

Founded in Alabama by husband-and-wife team Lance and Gerri Mach Hallmark, Alley said Rock N Roll Sushi has a knack for making sushi fans. 

 

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“It’s sushi made approachable,” he said. “It’s sushi for the masses, I guess you could say, so for people that aren’t accustomed to eating sushi or think that sushi can only come raw, we kind of fight that misconception and tell them, no, sushi can be baked. You can get it fried.”

 

Alley said his personal favorites are the Punk Rock Roll, an eclectic mix of strawberries, avocado and jalapeño served over red tuna sushi; the VIP Roll, a fried roll that features crawfish and crab toppings; and the filet mignon hibachi.

 

He and his partners brought the restaurant in Arkansas about three years ago at the beginning of the pandemic. Although Alley said opening at that time was a challenge, he also counts himself as fortunate. 

 

“We were one of the lucky ones, I guess you could say, because we were actually looking at real estate when people were closing down stores. We were looking for employees when people were letting employees go because of the pandemic,” he said. “We got to sit back and kind of watch what everyone else was doing and take notes, take lessons from what other restaurants were doing to survive, and it kind of, I would say, gave us a small advantage as far as trying to operate a business during the pandemic.”

 

He said he hopes to continue expanding the franchise and is interested in opening locations in northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro, Cabot and Hot Springs.

 

“We’re excited to be a part of North Little Rock, and hopefully the expansion of Rock N Roll will continue across Arkansas,” he said. “We’re excited about the brand, and we thank our loyal guests and our raving fans for the success that we’ve had.”

 

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