The Red Deer sushi train was expected to begin making its rounds today.
The functioning scale model train is a central feature of ChopStix Sushi Train, the city’s newest restaurant. A replica CP Rail engine pulls nine flatdeck cars around the sushi bar at the 5004 48th St. business, enabling patrons to grab plates of food as they pass by.
Kerdessa Panas, who operates ChopStix Sushi Train with her husband Derek, said such conveyor systems are common in Asia, with trains, boats or simple belts transporting food to customers.
Not only is it a fast, efficient way to serve diners, it promotes interaction, she said. And for those who tire of watching the train circle endlessly, there’s a 410-litre fish aquarium in the centre of the eating area.
Panas said the train will carry the restaurant’s most popular items, with customers charged on the basis of the number and colour of plates they collect. Prices range from $2.50 to $5 per plate.
Food items can also be ordered off a menu.
As for the type of food served at ChopStix Sushi Train, Panas describes it as “Asian-inspired cuisine.”
In addition to traditional dishes like miso soup, tuna rolls, shrimp tempura and barbecue smoked eel, diners can choose from ginger beef, pork and vegetable dumplings, breaded scallops and garlic ribs.
“We have a wide range of foods, so people who aren’t really into the sushi, or don’t think they are, can come in,” said Panas.
“We still offer some of the original raw fish but we do offer things like a sushi roll that has chicken salad, like you would eat in a sandwich.”
The restaurant has seating for 22 and will be licensed. Its tentative hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Saturday, with bookings for private functions accepted.
ChopStix Sushi Train is located in the newly renovated building on the northwest corner of 48th Street and Gaetz Avenue that was once the home of Monsieur Wongs.
Other businesses in the 16,000-square-foot premises are The Plaza nightclub, Classic Tattoo, Cash Solutions and Off Tha Hook clothing.
Leasing agent Dale Trueman of Re/Max Real Estate Central Alberta said two commercial bays remain: one with 2,800 square feet and the other with 1,450 square feet.