Tucked away off Ali’I Drive in the heart of Kailua-Kona is Sushi Cocoro, a rustic, family owned Japanese & sushi BYOB eatery which has been a local’s favorite since Sushi Cocoro was established nearly two years ago. Owner, Yoshi, was working as a manager/chef of a former restaurant in the space and when he took over the business and changed the name to Sushi Cocoro. Cocoro means “heart” in Japanese, and the philosophy is to connect to customers with their heart. Cocoro’s menu has been thoughtfully curated from the heart and we especially love their special rolls like the red hot lava, and the mauna poke roll. They also have a tasty collection of tempura sides, vegi rolls, and udon noodles.
Yoshi was born and raised in Tokyo and after traveling overseas, he realized that Kona was the only place on this earth that he wanted to live. In addition to the year-round surf and incredible Kona sunsets, Yoshi said that he felt drawn to the energy and overall good vibes of this island. Yoshi worked hard to make his dreams come true – and although it took him six years to accomplish, he said it has been well worth it. Before making the move to Big Island, he shaved his head like an apprentice of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, trained at a Michelin starred restaurant, and did whatever he could to gain experience in Japanese cuisine.
Stop into Sushi Cocoro to dine in or take out on any given night and you will see tables filled with a mix of surfers, Jiu-Jitsu athletes, local families, and other happy customers. Yoshi said that the best part of being in the Kona restaurant scene has been developing relationships with the regulars, all who he said have been incredibly supportive of the restaurant. If you haven’t checked out this Kona staple, we recommend checking them out the next time you have a sushi craving – check out their menu on facebook or give them a call at (808) 331-0601 to make a reservation!