Something’s getting lost in the translation. Or at least in the expansion.
When I first reviewed Sus Hi, in July of 2012, it was a nascent fast-fooder on Alafaya Trail near UCF, attempting to do for sushi what Moe’s did for Tex-Mex. It had an exuberant staff that called out “Welcome, Ninja” to each new guest, and they seemed excited about their food and genuinely happy to be serving it.
Now called Sus Hi Eatstation, it has four locations and another opening soon. One of the newer locations is in the Millenia area, and I stopped in there not long ago to see how the concept has fared over the past seven years.
Not well, it seems. The ebullience of the staff at the first and budding location near UCF was gone. There is still a “Welcome, Ninja” call, but it’s as lifeless and as insincere as the “Welcome to Moe’s” greeting, so in that respect Sus Hi has matched the Tex-Mex’s mediocrity.
The young woman who took my order couldn’t have seemed more bored.
Sus Hi Eatstation is an assemblage concept, so you choose your foundation and select your ingredients and accouterments, which a staff members puts together for you. So maybe I just chose poorly, but the bowl that I was presented with was dull and lifeless. And my fish choice, tuna, was scarce.
Add the unappealing atmosphere of a stark space with an industrial feel and you end up with a disappointing experience.
Sus Hi Eatstation needs to find a way to recapture the energy and excitement of those early days when it had just one location. It’s difficult to do, as is evident with too many concepts that grew too quickly and lost control of quality, both in terms of food and in the staff, but it’s the key to successful expansion.
Otherwise, you might as well go to Moe’s.
Sus Hi Eatstation has various locations, including 4693 Gardens Park Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The Millenia location’s phone number is 407-237-7160.