Oki Maki: Restaurant Review
April 10, 2017
Voorhees welcomed Oki Maki, the newest contemporary fast-food restaurant, to Haddonfield-Berlin Road on March 7. The Japanese-style restaurant takes a creative approach to Asian cuisine with its sushi burritos and ramen bowls made to order. With a management consisting of three local companies, Akira, AZ Gourmet Foods and Oki Maki, the owners decided to give Oki Maki a new look by separating the maki sushi station from its dine-in ramen restaurant counterpart.
“We tried to create a casual, fast food…convenient for all ages,” said Oki Maki owner Frank Zheng.
The restaurant’s double menu set allows customers to always have a meal fit for any time of year. While both the sushi and ramen are offered all year round, the hot ramen with broth, noodles, egg and meat is usually preferred in the colder months while the fresh sushi is perfect throughout the warmer months.
“It doesn’t matter; winter or summer, there is always something good at Oki Maki,” said Zheng.
Oki Maki’s atmosphere contrasts between the two restaurant divisions. The entrance brings customers directly to the build-your-own sushi counter, accented with marble floors and dark-wood. Customers have the option to dine at the window-lit bar seating or dimly lit tables.
After choosing from the sushi burrito, udon bowl or Oki Maki’s own invention of the fried seaweed chip cone, customers may add a variety of rice, fish, vegetables and sauces to their maki. The displayed ingredients allow for an efficient process from order to plate as the employees can build the Japanese meal right in front of the customer as he or she orders.
“It’s a totally new concept…and you get a huge sushi roll for ten bucks,” said Zheng.
My burrito was flavorful and well-balanced in fish to rice ratio, but I was surprised by the sloppiness
— Jackie Rappaport
“My burrito was flavorful and well-balanced in fish to rice ratio, but I was surprised by the sloppiness,” said first-time Oki Maki customer and East student Jackie Rappaport (’18).
Further into the restaurant, customers are encouraged to choose from an array of eccentrically designed, penny-patterned tables and seat themselves. Each dine-in table is supplied with an iPad menu, making individual orders and splitting costs in a group of people very simple. The technologically-friendly environment is complete with charging cord outlets and phone stations inside the tabletop.
“We want to bring [our customers] high technology and self-service to save a lot of energy waste,” said Zheng.
Locals agree that Oki Maki’s original style of Asian cuisine brought a new and interesting dining experience to the South Jersey area.
“It’s not as good as places in Philly, but it’s very good for Voorhees,” said Voorhees resident and returning Oki Maki customer Maggie Higgins.
Oki Maki also has an unconventional beverage menu as well. Unlike most restaurants the community is familiar with, Oki Maki does not offer free water, which many customers find unfavorable. Instead they sell a recently trending boxed-water for two dollars, canned matcha green tea and Japanese sodas.
“They should install a soda machine instead of bottled soda and boxed water,” said Higgins.
Ultimately, Oki Maki hopes to become a franchise and expand the business across the east coast. With one location already settled in Voorhees, two more are on their way in Cherry Hill. The east side of Cherry Hill should expect a new location opening up nearby this April.
“After at least five to ten restaurants in the South Jersey area, we want to expand to Philadelphia,” said Zheng.
As summer approaches, Oki Maki looks forward to working to appeal to the community of students in the area.
“We welcome all of the young people to join our team,” said Zheng.