Erik Irmiger and Amanda Trenbeth are putting the finishing touches on their sushi food truck business, SushiGo, and plan to roll it out for a maiden voyage on Friday, June 5 during Bay View Gallery Night in front of Tonic Tavern, 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
This will bring a longtime dream to fruition for Irmiger and Trenbeth. The two, who have been together for 13 years and live in Saint Francis, put a lot of thought and planning into this venture – especially since they know customers might question the freshness of raw fish from a truck.
"It’s been the biggest concern that we’ve heard from friends and well wishers," says Trenbeth.
However, Irmiger says they guarantee SushiGo fish will be extremely fresh. He plans to cut each piece of fish by hand and immediately seal it in a particular type of vacuum-sealed wrapper.
Trenbeth says they guarantee they will not use the same sushi-grade fish two days in a row. SushiGo will receive fish deliveries six days a week and, hopefully, sell out every day.
"Erik’s ordering will have to be really tight," says Trenbeth. "If there’s leftover fish it might be used in a stir fry the next day, but never re-sold as sushi."
Irmiger says he plans to request extra visits from the health inspector to gain the trust of his clientele.
"We totally understand how people might be leery of eating anything made in a truck, particularly sushi, but with that in mind we are going to be vigilant about offering the freshest fish in the city," he says. "The health inspector is going to get sick of me."
The sushi menu will include numerous "mega rolls" and nigiri sushi that will range depending on the catch of the day. SushiGo will also offer larger rolls similar to the "sushi burritos" popular on the West Coast.
The menu is still a work in progress, but will include, among others, a "fish fry roll" with whitefish, homemade tartar sauce, sesame-ginger napa coleslaw and jicama – all tempura fried to order. The Woo Wee! will feature blackened catfish, tomato salsa, green onion and a balsamic reduction. It will come with a side of Cajun dirty rice.
"Erik will get weirder with his menu as he gets more comfortable with the clientele," says Trenbeth.
SushiGo will offer many non-raw items as well, including dumplings, Asian barbecue wings, crab rangoon, miso soup, spring rolls and steamed pork buns.
"We love the raw – and there will be raw – however much of the menu is not raw," says Trenbeth. "After all, I’m a dumpling-a-holic,"
The couple bought the former taco truck earlier this year from a Craigslist ad. "It has a nicer kitchen than many I’ve worked in over the years," says Trenbeth.
Irmiger says he always wanted to be a chef. He graduated from culinary school in Madison and has worked as a chef in restaurants in Milwaukee, Chicago and Seattle. He is a self-taught sushi maker.
"I have a lot history eating sushi and learned to make it at home," he says. "And I’ve made a lot of it."
Trenbeth handles the "big picture" aspects of the business but will help out with food prep, including sushi making, as needed.
This is the second food-focused venture for the couple who first operated a French bistro in Stonehenge Inn in Wind Lake.
"It was an awesome lesson. We put together a crazy good menu, but it just wasn’t the right place," says Irmiger.
SushiGo will have a tablet mounted on the side of the truck for karaoke. Every week, the best karaoke performer will get aired on the web site and receive a $15 gift card.
Trenbeth and Irmiger know they have a lot of hard work ahead of them, but they are prepared.
"We love sushi. We are fanatics of sushi. It’s almost a problem," says Trenbeth. "So we are definitely up for the task."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.