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Wabi Sabi Sushi Opens in Santa Barbara Public Market

Release Date: October 24,2019

Wabi Sabi sushi Buck Thananaken
Buck Thananaken has opened Wabi Sabi sushi restaurant inside the Santa Barbara Public Market. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

By Joshua Molina, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @JECMolina | October 24, 2019 | 10:42 p.m.

He was born in Thailand, but Buck Thananaken first learned the craft of cutting fish and preparing sushi in Santa Cruz, California in 2000.

Now, he's mastered the art of sushi-making and has opened his own restaurant, Wabi Sabi, inside Santa Barbara's Public Market, at 38 W. Victoria St.

He had partnered with the Empty Bowls franchise, but it has been his dream to start his own eatery. When a spot became available recently inside the Public Market, he jumped on it, and a month later, opened. 

“I feel like my life has come back,” Thananaken told Noozhawk. “I have a passion for making sushi.”

He has bounced around several local sushi spots, mastering a stage of the craft at each restaurant, such as Kai, Ichiban and Arigato.

Thananaken prides himself on quality sushi and ingredients, and says there will be no imitation crab at his restaurant.

“I will not serve customers anything that I don't eat,” he said.

Wabi Sabi opened last week, and serves customers from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. 

Thananaken has about 10 employees and is already enjoying having his own restaurant.

“I feel good serving customers and making them happy,” he said. 

— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk@NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.